Origin teaches us many things. It teaches us to be proud of our state, to respect the football gods and how to back-up at work after a big session on a school night.
In a game that sorts the boys from the men and the pretenders from the genuine contenders for legendary status in the world of Rugby League, State Of Origin is a tournament that takes footy to another level.
A bit like a splash of Old Spice and a good old XXX Extra Strong Mint do to my own Friday night game.
That was certainly the case on Wednesday night in Brisbane when Mal Meninga’s “too old” squad of Maroons’ legends showed the young Blues how to play with a step-by-step 52 – 6 thrashing.
New South Wales might have been first to post points with a penalty kick but they scored just the one try all night while Queensland had every fan in the sell-out Suncorp Stadium venue voiceless on Thursday morning from continually cheering as they crossed for four-pointer after four-pointer.
The Maroons secured the series and bragging rights again, taking back the shield that was always only ever just on loan to the Blues who have won just one series in 10 years.
While in danger of rubbing salt into the fresh wounds of the supporters south of the border, let’s have a quick look at the big three lessons learned in Game 3.
You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
If you went by what the media hype was saying, then the Queensland side that lined-up should have presented like a bunch of seniors out for a game of bowls of a Sunday arvo.
For weeks the team of star veterans was labelled as too old and too slow to present a genuine danger.
Well turns out experience trumps youth as some of the oldest players on the field were without doubt the best including Man of the Match Johnathan Thurston and the retiring Justin Hodges whose final play in rep footy was converting Queensland’s last try two minutes from time.
Whatever Viagra was slipped into the pre-game Powerade of the Maroons’ forward pack, write me a prescription because if I can get a lady into a quarter of a frenzy the crowd at Suncorp was in, I can die a happy man.
The Pad Counts Just as Much as the Game
You can be the smoothest operator of the night but if you don’t take the chick you bag back to the right pad then forget it.
They had the skills, experience, passion and energy but arguably the thing working most in favour for Queensland was the venue.
Lang Park is a special place for footy and surely for the Blues the curse of ‘The Cauldron’ is all too real, unlike the “balconies” on show during the post-game entertainment.
It’s an atmosphere that as the home squad you just cannot beat, turning a nervous attitude into an internal “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS” chant within minutes.
But for the visitors, the boisterous Maroons’ fans that fill the stadium can really put you off your game.
They boo on cue, cheer continually and work to both inspire their boys, and kill the confidence and momentum of NSW well beyond the final whistle blow.
Silly errors are made by teams in panic mode and that was certainly the case during the great lifting brain-snap for the Blues in Game 3.
All credit to the lads on the field but also let’s just recognise the part played by their off-field fans too who helped with that crazy big winning margin.
Records Can Only Stand for So Long
Queensland didn’t just secure their ninth Origin series win in 10 years, they also broke a host of records while they were at it.
While the only record I hold is possibly “most disappointing player at Kings Cross of 2014-15”, the Maroons’ squad more than rewarded the fans that paid the stupid price it costs to put your bum on a maroon or yellow seat at Suncorp for Origin these days.
It was their biggest winning margin to date, the 46 points smashing their three previous 30-point victories recorded in 1999, 2003 and 2008, and the 40 point margin the Blues embarrassed Queensland by back in 2000.
It was the most points Queensland have scored in a single Origin game, a record that stood at 43 from Game 3 way back in 1983 when plenty of boys on the field weren’t even in diapers.
And it was all done in front of a record crowd of 52,500 fans.
JT also set his own record with the most points scored in a single game. What. A. Hero.
Bet you feel smarter already. Now take the lessons from the Queensland Origin side and apply them to your own game this weekend. Just make sure you tidy up the pad first because you’ll be having a visitor for sure, it’s a winning formula!