Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You Surprised me Mal

You could have blown me over with a feather when I read about the tirade launched by big Mal Meninga through his Sunday newspaper column. Mal has always been a man of integrity and one could sense his indignation at being mis-represented in the NSW press. But really???? This is Origin....

I am a QLDER, born in NSW but a Qlder since I was 7..... I bleed Maroon and all this was because of me listening as a youngster at Maroochydore to the systematic beatings that QLD would suffer at the hands of the Blues. My dad, a long renowned NSW Country referee, even bled for the Qlders, who would fight gamely until the final 10-20 minutes when eventually the floodgates opened. I know what Origin is about for Qlders as it finally gave me the opportunity to cheer a winning side...and one that beat the team that came from the birth of the game in Australia.

So....I understand Qld, but even I felt that this year the Qlders actually overstepped the mark on two accounts in the press. The major newspaper led push for the BLUES BIAS to be settled in favour of more maroons in the commentary teams. In my opinion, Phil Gould and Peter Sterling are two of the more trusted commentators of our game, and yes they played for the Blues and show their allegiance, BUT they are also more than accommodating in their praise for this great Qld side. In fact, Gould should be running our game in my mind, but that is another story in itself.

The other thing is the Conspiracy theories that trot out every year. Taylor's tackle was bad...he fought it...he had carryover points. He lost. SIMPLE... It does highlight some inconsistency with the penalties, but please...a conspiracy against a QLD Origin player.

The Qld crowd that booed Paul Gallon continued a long run of history on both sides of the border. Was it right? Probably not....and I won’t look at history..but it was no worse than others. Maybe if Gallon hadn’t mentioned the ref’s decisions in his first post-game comments he may have had some good press. He did go onto to acknowledge that Qld were the better side, and that NSW was flattered by the scoreline.....but all that was missed because his immediate comments about the decisions. Personally I am struggling to see which decisions he alluded to....but again that is Origin. Gallon took a massive step up in my eyes in the way he led his team and played the game. Tough and uncompromising. Booing is a mark of respect in some ways, and maybe he will learn to live with that, as I hope he stays as Qld’s nemesis for a number of years.

Mal did get it right. This Qld team is something special. He compares them with the great St George teams of the 50-60's who won their eleven straight Premierships. Mal describes that era as a time where universally, the Dragons were acclaimed as an outstanding team, admired, respected and revered. Now I really wasn’t around then, but I reckon they may just as much copped press that wasn’t so acclaimed and revered....It is a mark of respect, that people may try and unsettle great teams.

This run of wins is fantastic for the game! I have friends in NSW that are filthy at losing six straight series....I think NSW now have a real taste of why Origin is so special to Qlders.... They stood toe to toe on passion this year. Just as the Mighty Dragons drew record crowds, many showing up to hope that their team would be the ones to beat them.....Just as it will be for Origin. This year was great, next year will be better!!! Just cut out the Bullshit....

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