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Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Mighty Maroons triumph

To-day Miss Eagle bears witness to an incredible Queensland win in State of Origin II last night - 30-0.

Miss Eagle is an expatriate Queenslander living in Melbourne where there is one dominant code - not Rugby League - and the majority of people don't understand, try to understand or care about any other game. Not even the World Game, Soccer.

For a Queenslander, State of Origin - three matches played between Queensland and New South Wales every winter - is a religion. The reasons for this are ancient and deep. If, dear Reader, you want to come to grips with a Queenslander's attitude to New South Wales and how State of Origin came about, read my uncle Jack Gallaway's superb history The Brisbane Broncos: the team to beat.

Jack, in the early part of the book, takes the reader on a journey through Queensland football history to show how Rugby League enmity between Queensland and New South Wales festered and grew to the extent that, some years ago, Billy Mohr came down the tunnel chanting "Queenslander, Queenslander, Queenslander" and Queensland hearts exulted and beat a little quicker. After all, so many shared religious experiences have a chant - and now Queensland had one.
But State of Origin loyalties can be tug of heart things. Instance the case of the coach of the New South Wales team, the wonderful Craig Bellamy - to some, the best coach in the world currently.
Bellamy coaches the Melbourne Storm. The Melbourne Storm has countless Queensland and Brisbane Broncos connections. The captain of The Storm and the Australian Rugby League Captain is also the captain of Queensland's State of Origin team - Cam Smith. Quite a few Queenslanders inhabit The Storm. Bellamy has coached with the Broncos under the redoubtable Wayne Bennett.
He has also coached at the Canberra Raiders under Mal Meninga who is the Queensland coach in State of Origin. There was a time when the connections between the Raiders and Queensland were so strong that the Raiders was regarded as the de facto Queensland team when the Broncos weren't playing. In fact, my friend Denis over at The Nature of Robertson in New South Wales - who has never ever lived in Queensland but is a former Canberran - barracks for Queensland in the State of Origin.
That's the history. That's the heart. Last night's achievements were so exhilarating and the stars of such good play were so numerous that I will leave you, dear Reader, to explore the links.
Congratulations, Cam and team.
Commiserations, Craig.
On to Sydney for the next Queensland triumph.


When you can do nothing else: bear witness.