26 hours ago
Off the Wall
A new arrival in Sydney or Brisbane this week could be excused for believing there is a world title boxing contest on at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday night.
Paul Bird is out to "get" Darren Lockyer, Jamie Soward is being "targeted" by the Maroons, and Tommy says that the Blues have to "bash" the Maroons...if they want to win, that is!
And to top it all off, a writer in the Courier Mail today describes Ricky Stuart's first Blues Origin team as "the worst ever".
The way some in the media are reporting it, the Maroons are now so dominant in the State of Origin series that the Blues might not as well turn up.
The record tells a different story.
While the Maroons have won five series in succession, which is without precedent, take the results in the 2010 series. The Maroons won the first game 28-24, the second 34-6 and the final game 23-18.
In 2009 it was even closer 28-18; 24-14; 16-28.
The important factor to emerge from these stats is that the Blues have, without one or two exceptions, been highly competitive.
So if we look behind the "bash them, take them out" hype, we have the nation's pre-eminent sporting teams contest...something the AFL, ARU and others look on with envy.
When the Reds and the Waratahs met recently the ARU tried to make it out to be their "state of origin" contest. It was as flat as a camels foot!
So I think we can comfortably handle the false hype and drama...because at the end of the day, it comes down to a contest between the best players our greatest game can put forward.
There won't be any "bash" next week...at least not the kind of "bash" we saw in the 1980"s.
An essential part of the Origin sideshow is the Tommy (Raudonikis) and Arty (Beatson) line up...the first origin captains. They take their two act show to many parts of the nation, and beyond.
Next week they will be in Lae, Papua New Guinea!
Origin is arguably the greatest success story in the history of the game, and most certainly the modern game.
Looking at the Brisbane media this week, Black Caviar has sunk without trace (for the time being), and Origin has been absolutely dominant. You could almost be excused for thinking there are no NRL premiership matches on this week.
And if we have to put up with a bit of repetitive hype about "taking so and so out" and Tommy's "go the biff" it is a small price to pay!
Roll on Wednesday next!