Every year New South Wales play Queensland in a best of three game series to determine which Australian state rules the Rugby League roost. This intense rivalry has raged since Federation in 1901, and now from 1982 with the fight transferred to an annual sporting contest, the fiercely passionate antagonism reaches boiling point over a six week period during which the three matches are contested. The State Of Origin series is a premier sporting event which attracts huge television audiences and sells out stadiums. It is the pinnacle of the game, the highest quality, the fastest, toughest sport on Earth. I love it.
What I don't love is the fact that my team, the Blues of News South Wales, lost another game and another series to those we southerners affectionately refer to as Canetoads, the Maroons of Queensland. This year was our best chance. We picked a team that could theoretically match the opposition, and the coach was charged with instilling faith in the players: faith to believe that they could beat the Maroons who, are possibly the best Rugby League team the game has ever seen. The question on everyone's lips was, could we not only compete with them but could we beat them. In Game One we played well enough to win but didn't. In Game Two we played better than we did in the first game and we deserved our victory. And so it was with our chests puffed out and heads held high that we marched into war at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane for the deciding match feeling like this was going to be our year. We would finally end the winning streak of the Maroons and claim glory for the mighty state of New South Wales.
Last night our hopes were obliterated. We lost by one point. Just one point, but the truth is we sucked. We did not play as well as we did in the previous match. We didn't defend as aggressively or effectively, and in attack we looked clueless most of the time. The final half of football in the 2012 series was when we should have stepped up and taken what was rightfully ours, but we didn't. We sucked. Credit to Queensland though. The wining margin may have only been one point but they were clearly the better team and deserved their victory. Ah well - here comes the cliche -there's always next year.