Pulling no punches - Paul Mitry

Back on your perch - this is Origin.

I don’t care if Paul Gallen’s action were right or wrong – I’m not that kind of blogger. But the reaction to the punches thrown by Gallen during State of Origin 1 last Wednesday have been uneducated and mostly, ridiculous.

Perhaps it’s just the fallout of new media and the exponential growth of twitter that allows traditional rugby league fans to hear the voices of those who have never seen an origin game, or perhaps a game of NRL. Or perhaps some media types have never forgiven or forgotten Paul Gallen’s murky history with foul play. Perhaps…

But what we are hearing from social commentators is basically this – if you condone the sort of violence perpetuated by the NSW captain against his QLD rival, then you are immoral. Huh? If what Gallen is saying is true, then every footballer will agree with his action. Nate Myles had taken the laws of rugby league and flushed them down the toilet. Nate Myles had gone beyond what is acceptable and Nate Myles deserved a smack in the face.

Leading with the head? Attacking a fellow competitor’s injury? What are watching here, WWE? For those commentators who see a punch thrown or a swinging arm and feel the need to lecture us all about violence in sport and bad examples set for our children, I’ve two things to say to you: 1: go jam yourselves and 2: educate yourself. Where have you been?

The reaction from every Origin explosion has been the same up to this point – it is discussed and replayed ad nauseam but never has one man been vilified by both states. They usually pick sides or simply accept that it is State of Origin. Example – Kurt Gidley being gang bashed by 5 Queenslanders, the punch by Brent Tate on a tied down, defenceless Greg Bird, and then one more tiny little example you may remember – THE 7 MILLION PUNCH UPS THAT HAVE OCCURRED IN ORIGIN OVER THE PAST 33 YEARS!

Am I taking crazy pills!?! What was so different about Gallen’s swinging arm and 3 punch combination to the head of a bully? That it didn’t even seem to hurt Myles? That it seemed unprovoked? I don’t get it. There are reams of footage showing Myles lead with his head in tackles and all you have to have is the basic knowledge of rugby league to see that Myles throws himself at opposition runners a little differently than anyone else.

So why the talk of violence in society? Surely with a bit more investigation, education and common sense, you'll see two sides to the story and perhaps even learn a lesson about how to take on a bully and stand up for yourself. Maybe these social commentators have never watched Origin before, never watched footy in general – perhaps too busy on the internet to play sport... So I assume our marketing is working because they are tuning in. Congratulations to the NRL and both Origin camps for making yourselves available for promotional duties.

Rugby League is the talk of the town and the ratings for Suncorp Stadium’s Origin II will be through the roof.


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