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Published: June 27th 2013
Getting ready for the big game.
ORIGIN – IT’S GAME DAY
Today its ‘Origin Day’ Queensland v New South Wales Rugby League clash of the giants at Suncorp Stadium. Queensland have won seven series in a row but New South Wales won game one – a game in which Queensland were well below their best. It’s a three match series so the Maroons have to win to keep the series alive and have a shot at an unprecedented eight consecutive series wins. In Brisbane there’s nothing bigger right now!
We’d have had an awesome and pretty full on schedule so earmarked this morning for a quiet one before the Origin madness got under way! Sue went off to give blood and Jeanette, Don and I pottered around home.
At around 2.30 we headed to Chermside Shopping Centre – a HUGE Westfield shopping complex not too far from where we are based. Jeanette and I picked up some Queensland supporters gear and Don and I met his son Troy at Gilhooleys Pub for a couple of beers at Gilhooleys Pub while Jeanette and Sue had a look around the shops. Troy lives just opposite the Shopping Centre so we left the car at his apartment
There was barely room to move, The bar was absolutely packed pre-game
block and took the bus into Rona Street near the Stadium. It was about 4.30pm and as we walked from the bus station up to Caxton Street (Suncorp Stadium) we were joined by a growing Maroon tsunami (with the odd barely visible blue speck!).
By the time we arrived in Caxton Street it was wall to wall people – a very happy crowd too. The Blues team bus used to drive up the street until one year when the Maroon fans got hold of it and started rocking the bus from side to side – it was almost turned over and that put an end to that! There is a FIERCE rivalry between the Maroons and Blues (we found the banter between the fans to be very good natured, but if you are a Queenslander on Origin Day you HATE the New South Wales players, and I do mean hate!)
The most famous watering hole in the area is the Caxton Hotel and we called in for a pre-game beer – it was ‘packed to the rafters’ – literally it was a struggle to move – great way to get into the atmosphere of the night though.
The famous street where fans congregate on the before and after the game.
We headed up to the Stadium about 6pm. Our seats were on the top tier directly behind the southern goal posts. Excellent view! Suncorp is a genuine rectangle football ground – unlike the hybrid oval Stadiums we have at home – it has a really nice feel about it and as we were to find out later the design means the crowd sound reverberates around the standing creating an incredible atmosphere. Not a great start on the pitch as Queensland under 18’s are smashed 60-6 by their NSW counterparts.
Good build up from there which regularly featured Queensland legend Billy Moore in the XXXX Beer advert.
For those of you with a bit of Origin history about you, you might remember in 1995 a decimated ‘under strength’ and written off Queensland Origin side shaped up to face the ‘mighty’ Blues. In Origin history there had never been a more one-sided contest in prospect – on paper. As the baby Maroon walked steely eyed out of the changing room Moore’s scream of QUEENSLANDER, QUEENSLANDER reverberated around the tunnel, it was a cry to war and to a man the baby Maroons stood tall for the jersey
View from our seats, looking straight down the ground - brilliant view.
and the State. The Maroons tore into the Blues and left them shocked, battered, bruised and beaten – a legend was born. Queensland went on to win the series 3 nil and Moore became a cult hero in the Sunshine State!
Moore has apparently personally ‘blessed’ every XXXX beer (be it can, bottle or keg) produced over the last month – the advert features him screaming QUEENSLANDER at each and everyone as it rolls off the production line.
The team lists go up on the big screen – Blues first – every player is roundly booed as their photo appears on the big screen. None more so than skipper and meathead thug cheap shot specialist Paul Gallon. It was a sign of things to come as every time he was near the ball during the game the crowd really got into him.
It’s time for the Queensland team list to go up. But wait - before that happens the man himself Billy Moore strides out onto the park in full playing strip. Going to all sides of the ground he stands in front of the fans and screams QUEENSLANDER into his microphone – the crowd respond as one. 50,000 people screaming QUEENSALNDER at the top of their voices as the Queensland team is announced and the two teams make their way onto the ground. Definitely the most intimidating atmosphere I’ve ever experienced at a sporting venue. It hard to see how it’s possible for any team, New South Wales Blues included could handle such a full on hostile environment without being put off their game. Certainly the Blues couldn’t stand up to the pressure and the mighty Maroons ran out 26-6 victors. Brilliant night, great atmosphere, best possible result! Fantastic experience all round!!
We expected origin to be a highlight of our trip and it was all that and more!
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