I am interested in the State of Origin series. Not because I am a passionate supporter of one team or the other. I am interested because State of Origin provides a rare opportunity to see some of Australia’s best athletes play against each other, all on the one field. That makes me a typical New South Wales supporter, I figure.
Gut says Queensland
Yesterday morning while preparing to do some grocery shopping in down town Mullumbimby I was wondering who was likely to win the decider. My gut was telling me that Queensland would win. I didn’t know why? As far as I was concerned both teams were equal in terms of player personnel, coaching quality and motivation to win. All logic aside, I just thought that the maroons would be way too good on the night.
Moments later, I knew why my gut was screaming out for the banana-benders. The second I walked into Woollies I could see that seven or eight Woolworths staff members were wearing maroon supporter’s uniforms. Even though Mullumbimby is very much in New South Wales blues territory, there was not one blues uniform in sight. Not one! It’s unlikely that there wasn’t a single Woollies staff member who wanted NSW to win. It’s more likely that, come game time, dozens of those diligent shelf stackers, supervisors, bakers and check-out operators would have been huddled around their televisions watching the game and hoping for a blues win. But would NSW supporters be bothered enough to wear a pale blue uniform to work to show their adulation for their State’s best Rugby league players. Not likely. The thing is, no matter how hard they try, NSW folks just don’t care that much. They want their team to win. They really do. But they are not going to get all that fussed about it.
Where were the defenders when it really counted
Consider the game. The NSW team were a good team. They had a good coach. They wanted to win. They really wanted to win. They had a great camp. They practiced well. Their coach was thrilled with their efforts leading up to the match. The team cohesion seemed good. They were mostly in form. However, as young Jarrod Wallace ran over the try-line unopposed for Queensland’s fourth try late in the game, while several more highly paid, more experienced, big named NSW forwards wandered around five meters from the gap in the defensive line that they should have been protecting it was obvious that, as sports commentators say, “Queensland wanted it more.” It’s a boring old cliché, I know. In this case, the cliché has some truth. Commentator “Fatty” Vauntin opined that no Queensland forward would wander around listlessly in that situation. They would have been there to shut down the danger. Not better players. They just care more.
“They wanted in more” myth?
I am a firm believer in the “they wanted it more” syndrome being a bit of a myth. I believe that if one sports team has better players, is better coached, works better as a team, has better preparation and is more skilful then it will win a match ninety-nine times out of one hundred no matter how much passion its opponents may have. However, if two teams are, by most criteria, equal in ability but for some poorly understood cultural reason one team thinks that their lives depend on winning and the other team doesn’t really (deep down) give a rat’s arse, then the passionate team will win.
I have no idea why the NSW team and their supporters (except for Tommy Raudonikas, who, by my estimation, is the only New South Welsh person who does care) don’t give a rat’s arse. That’s just the way it is!