MIKE COLMAN: After decades of pretending to be ‘Blues fans’, it’s time for everyone in NSW to own up to reality and admit they ALL want Queensland to win State of Origin
- State of Origin is more than just about drinking XXXX and wearing silly headgear
- Queenslanders care more bout Origin more than NSW Blues counterparts
- Fans south of border deep down glad the better side won, says Mike Colman
Wayne Bennett once said that Queenslanders all walk a little taller the morning after a State of Origin win.
NSW supporters say that’s to stop their knuckles dragging along the ground.
But seriously folks, Bennett – the veteran coach who came out of the old folks’ home to orchestrate a remarkable 2-1 series win in Brisbane on Wednesday night – was right on the money.
Queenslanders do care about Origin more than their NSW counterparts. To them the annual festival of rugby league is about a lot more than drinking XXXX, donning silly headwear and making guttural noises.
It is a reaffirmation of who they are, what they believe in… and of course, drinking XXXX, donning silly headwear and making guttural noises.
For Queenslanders, there’s more to the State of Origin than wearing silly headgear. Pictured are rugby league fans showing their true colours during Wednesday night’s game
It’s an age-old battle of good versus evil, right versus wrong, Maroon versus Blue.
To Queenslanders there are only two types of people: those born north of the Tweed River and those who wish they were.
And you know what? I reckon they’re right.
Ask a lot of New South Welshmen how they feel the morning after a Queensland Origin win and many will tell you, ‘I couldn’t care less’.
Origin man of the series Cameron Munster celebrates with Maroons trainer Allan ‘Alfie’ Langer in the Queensland dressing room after their 20-14 win in the decider
They’ll say something like ‘I don’t even watch it’ or utter the words guaranteed to send a Queenslander even crazier than usual, ‘it’s only a game’.
But the real truth of the matter is that the only reason they’re not walking around looking like they’ve just lost their last friend, or banging their head against a wall, is because deep down they want the Maroons to win.
They might not admit it to anyone else – might not even admit it to themselves in fact – but in the inner-most reaches of their subconscious, they are secretly Queensland supporters.
These NSW Blues fans are quietly pleased deep down inside that Queensland has won this year’s series, writes Mike Colman
NSW Blues fans ere out in force in Sydney in game two where their side forced the series into a decider
Seriously, how could they not be?
From the day Australians are old enough to use a remote control or computer keyboard, they are indoctrinated with ‘the story’. The movie, TV show or exclusive streaming service presentation which features a group of loveable, off-beat characters from the wrong side of the tracks banding together to beat the stuck-up, arrogant, preppies from Snob Hill.
And that, in a nutshell, is Origin.
Think of the annual three-game series as a sort of Animal House in footy boots. NSW is the upper-crust toffee-nosed Omega fraternity, used to having things handed to them on a silver platter and heading towards a gilt-edged future bank-rolled by their social-climbing parents. Queensland is Delta House next door, ramshackle, falling apart and inhabited by a collection of reprobates, drunks and miscreants led by John Belushi in a maroon number six jersey.
Come on, admit it, which side would you root for?
The State of the Origin decider at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (pictured) was the world’s biggest sporting event attendance-wise since the coronavirus pandemic began
There’s nothing wrong with Blues fans quietly cheering on the Maroons in the State of Origin
A Sydney associate rang me at my Queensland home the morning after I’d screamed myself hoarse at the deciding match at Suncorp Stadium and, before I’d had the chance to gloat about the outcome, gave me some news.
‘I just took a straw poll of the league types in the office,’ he said. ‘They all admitted that secretly they don’t mind the Maroons winning. They were even cheering for them.’
I know exactly how they feel. I was raised in NSW and lived there for the first 10 years of Origin before moving north.
Even back then I barracked for Queensland during Origin – not that I told anyone. Year after year I would put on my blue t-shirt and Tooheys cap and pretend to cheer for the likes of Sterlo and Junior and Benny Elias while secretly hoping they’d step in a pothole and twist their ankle.
The Queenslands Maroons celebrate moments after clinching the 2020 State of Origin series
Like so many other closet Maroons supporters I was living a double life. It was tough, it led to a lot of sleepless night, but I couldn’t help it.
Maybe it was because I was married to a Brisbane girl but more likely it was because I couldn’t help but be drawn to the likes of Choppy Close, Fatty Vautin and Trevor Gillmeister.
Back then, just like now, they were ‘the story’.
Conditioned as I was to want the unfashionable underdog to win in the final scene of Rocky or Happy Days, I longed for King Wally Lewis or Alfie Langer to pull the rug out from under those smug NSW Blues in the dying seconds of an Origin decider.
Which, more often than not, they did.
Just like Cameron Munster and Harry Grant on Wednesday night.
A night when all Queensland supporters walked a little taller.
Those who were born north of the Tweed … and those who wish they were.
Queensland coach Wayne Bennett gets a Gatorade shower after the Maroons claimed their first State of Origin in three years