BBM takes a look at this State of Origin business that the Aussies seem so obsessed with…
UNLESS you’ve been living in a hole for the last couple of weeks (i.e. Canberra) you can’t have escaped the overhyped Aussie feud known as the State of Origin series this week.
While the Aussies dub it “one of the greatest sporting spectacles in the southern hemisphere” (despite the fact no-one outside the country has heard of it), in reality it’s just an excuse for Sydneyites and Brisbaners to get drunk and be more abusive to each other than usual.
But what exactly is State of Origin we hear the slightly more annoying of you ask.
Well it’s an annual three-match rugby league competition between Queensland and New South Wales which sees players face off against each other depending on which state they were born in.
And seeing as rugby league is so massive here, it would be kind of like replacing the FA Cup back home with a one-off match between the best Premier League players from the South of England and the best ones from the North. Mix it with the America’s ‘World Series’ of baseball and you’ve got the reason Aussies think it’s the best thing since Don Bradman.
A Brief history of Origin
ALTHOUGH State of Origin can trace its, erm, origins all the way back to the early 1900s, the actual competition we know and love today first came into existence in 1980.
Before then, Queensland players playing in New South Wales weren’t allowed to represent their state as squads were chosen on where clubs were based rather than where players were born.
After another routine 2-0 series walloping to NSW (the second match being played in front of a paltry 1,638 bored Sydneysiders), organisers decided to bring in the State of Origin rules as an experiment for the third game.
The New South Wales media gave both the match, and Queensland’s chance of winning, little credence while Australia’s 1978 captain Bob Fulton called it “the non-event of the century”. Prat.
Filled with righteous zeal, a sell-out Queensland crowd of 33,210 roared their heroes home to a 20-10 win. It wasn’t until the same thing happened the following year that the powers that be decided that maybe State of Origin rules was the way forward.
FAVOURITES Queensland took a 1-0 series lead this week after a fairly convincing 28-18 win in Melbourne.
The remaining two matches will take place on June 24th in Sydney and July 15th in Brisbane.
GONZALEZ SPEEDS PAST MURRAY
ANDY Murray had a good chance in the French Open after Soderling’s defeat of Nadal, but he messed it up didn’t he? Fool.
The British number one was knocked out by Chilean Fernando Gonzalez who hit big to overpower the Scot.
Gonzalez overpowered him in the first, Murray came back in the second, but the Chilean’s tactic of keeping him under constant pressure proved too effective. Gonzalez took the match 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4.
“I have to give him a lot of credit. I’ve played against him before and he hits it hard, but today he was hitting it huge,” said Murray.
“It’s easy to look from the side and think you could have done this, you could have done that, but the guy was just hitting it so hard.
“The start of the third set was disappointing. I had a couple of chances to hold serve and I didn’t take them, and at the end of the match I played poorly.
“If you look at some of the shots he’s hit, he’s hitting forehands from a metre wide of the tramlines on some points – and hitting winners off them.”