The wait is over for Rugby League fans with State of Origin kicking off tonight.
Around the state Queenslanders will be wearing Maroon to show support for their team. A team aiming to make it a record six series wins in a row.
Origin in Queensland is almost a religion. It’s something people from interstate struggle to understand.
It started when Arthur Beetson led a team of 17 players on to Lang Park, or the Cauldron as it would later be known, to the cheers of 33,000 patriarchal Maroon supporters.
They were never expected to win but Beetson’s Queensland team triumphed 20-10 and a true interstate war was born.
The legacy from that first game still lives today.
It was there when Billy Moore walked down the tunnel yelling the now famous catch-cry, “Queenslander….Queenslander…”
And it was there when former Blue Mad Dog MacDougall punched his thighs in the sheds before the game yelling, “Don’t let me down…Don’t let me down.”
When the Maroon or Blues jumper goes on the players will always carry that legacy.
Another word often talked about by players past and present who have played Origin is the word passion.
It’s why throughout the 90 matches played so far only 64 total points separates both sides. Queensland has socred 1,484 and New South Wales 1,420.
Ricky Stuart the Blues new coach has been brought in for one reason, to bring the passion back to the New South Wales side.
He is a former star player who coached New South Wales to their last series win. He was around during the glory years when success was almost expected for a Blues side.
This time around he has used Queensland’s model for success. Putting in place an emerging origin camp and inviting many former players to share stories about the golden years.
But the most important new addition to the Blues camp this series is the word passion. It’s a concept that if Ricky’s team fully embraces will give them its best chance of winning.