After 12 years of State of Origin torment at the hands of Queensland and just one year of glory to show for it, are NSW ready to concede defeat?
If it comes down to performances, playing for your state and playing for your mates, Queensland are the state of origin. NSW will have to go back to the drawing board (again) and try to work out how to return to the days where the Blues could win.
But after 12 years of Queensland ‘miracles’ that come at such an alarming regularity that it borders on predictable, the gloss has fallen off the game’s showpiece event.
I have been a rugby league fan my entire life and yet Origin has always been a difficult game to swallow.
In rugby league, more than playing for your country, pulling on your state’s jersey is the pinnacle, while the green and gold seems to play second fiddle, as has been the Kangaroos’ dominance internationally. It is a showcase of the best talent rugby league has to offer and there have been some great games, but the results don’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things.
With the 2018 series opener destined for the Melbourne Cricket Ground instead of two games in NSW at ANZ Stadium, it seems the Blues bosses don’t seem to care about the results either.
While you may be thinking I’m a sore loser, I found it hard to get excited in 2014 when the Blues last tasted success after an eight-year drought. It was hard to get excited for just one win success in nine attempts.
More broadly, what Origin means for the NRL is two months of substandard action. It has uninspiring games with teams featuring second-tier players in front of a handful of fans. It’s an embarrassing look for the game.
While the crowds that flock to Origin show the interstate competition certainly has its place, can the powers that be start to think outside the box for a way to not let Origin take away from the relevance of the regular NRL season?
If Origin could be three stand-alone weekends where the competition stops and all teams have a week off, it would give the regular players a break in the middle of the season and not tarnish the NRL product. The fans deserve it.
- Andrew McMurtry is the sports journalist for the Blacktown Sun, Hills News, Parramatta Sun, Rouse Hill Courier and St Marys-Mount Druitt Star. Email your views and sports stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.