So it has now been more than two weeks since New South Wales claimed their first State of Origin title in facebook living memory. I’ve come to grips with it, I’ve moved on and look forward to the ‘dead rubber’. I won’t pass judgement on how many free tickets have been given away to fill Suncorp Stadium for this game – mainly because chickatthefooty was on the receiving end of some.
But deep in my bones I get the feeling that the crowd could turn nasty next Wednesday night. There will be a truck load of NSW fans heading up to Brisbane and I don’t think they are going to sit quietly and pat themselves on the back as their team takes the shield home. I haven’t met too many NSW fans who have managed to convince me they are good winners, but I guess they’re probably just out of practice. Although I will admit that they (the good winners) probably are out there, but it’s the other mob that tend to make themselves known.
So what do NSW feel is an appropriate recognition of winning a single series? How about a Paul Gallen statue. Well I guess if they can make Andrew Johns (a player who couldn’t even crack the Australian team in his preferred position half the time) an immortal, a Paul Gallen statue is not much of a stretch. Maybe they could place it out the front of Shark Park – the centre of the vortex currently swallowing rugby league.
Not content with staving off bankruptcy, threatening to move to Brisbane and introducing the rugby league public to the word ‘peptide’, the Sharks have presented us, via Todd Carney, with a new trend – ‘bubbling’. Maybe Todd Carney wasn’t content to let season 2014 pass by without a headline or two. I’m not yet sure that Carney deserves to be rubbed out of the game permanently, I don’t think he actually committed any offences (other than those imposed by common decency). As an act of player stupidity on the drink it is certainly up there. But on a scale of one to Joel Monaghan, I don’t think it’s up at the high end. And let’s face it, Joel Monaghan managed to eek out a not inconsiderable career, albeit on the other side of the world.
But the strange happenings in rugby league do not stop there, or even here in Australia. Few of you might be aware that rugby league was scheduled as an exhibition sport for this years Commonwealth Games. Last week Glasgow hosted a Rugby League Nines competition for U19s and Australia medalled. But it did not win. Teams competing in the Commonwealth Championship included South Africa, England, Scotland, Wales, PNG, Canada and Jamaica – New Zealand were notably absent and the Kangaroos still didn’t win!.
So who had the honour or representing Australia at the first Commonwealth Games featuring rugby league? The best young Australians from the length and breadth of the east coast? Maybe some of the young guns we see playing flash footy in the Toyota Cup? Nope. A Sydney City Roosters side was sent to represent Australia and bag a medal.
Let’s just stop and think about that. How important is the upcoming Olympics to the sport of Rugby Union? And when rugby league gets a shot, albeit not the Olympics but the next best thing, how do we treat it? We send an U19s club side.
But not that any of you would know that because there was no coverage. Not even on the Rugby League International Federation website where apparently nothing of note has happened in the world of rugby league since May. It’s a good thing the NRL stepped up to the plate all those months ago to held whip international rugby league in shape. To find out what is happening in rugby league outside the NRL and Super League I recommend the Rugby League European Federation website.
The countries that play rugby league might surprise you.
For the record the PNG Kumuls are the Commonwealth gold medal holders, Australia settled for silver and Wales took the bronze.