State of Origin in Melbourne is not a new thing.
In fact, the first time the Blues and the Maroons ventured down South for the biggest game was game two of the 1990 series when New South Wales beat Queensland 12-6 at the old Olympic Park.
Since then Origin has gone to Melbourne every few years and it’s fair to say, a game in Victoria is a little different to what we’d usually see in Sydney or Brisbane.
With that in mind, the Ladbrokes blog presents a guide for Origin fans heading down to Marvelous Melbourne for the match.
Old Habits Die Hard
Yelling out “Ball” when a tackle occurs, wondering why one bounces the ball when on a run, why no players bomb it from 50 meters out and looking very confused when players kick the ball “out of bounds”.
Victorians in attendance may look perplexed as to why the fullback dropped a simple chest mark after a high bomb and will tend to continually refer to the match officials as umpires, not referees.
Please excuse the locals calling the game “Rugby”.
Locals expect biffo
Many recall that infamous fight in game 2 of the 1995 series at the MCG.
When the Blues hooker Jim Serdaris let one rip and a good old-fashioned Origin brew-ha-ha ensured with the likes of John Hopoate, Danny Moore, David Barnhill and of course Billy Moore getting right amongst it.
It set the standard and the locals wouldn’t mind just a little bit of a donnybrook during the game.
Victorians All Support Queensland
Make no mistake, Victorians do not like New South Wales and especially don’t like Sydney.
The reason Canberra is our nation’s capital is that Melbourne would have declared civil war on Sin City had they been given that title.
It may be seen as “second child syndrome” and a real chip on their shoulder but the hatred is very real.
Mention the Harbour Bridge to a Victorian and they’ll tell you that the Westgate is busier and bigger.
Bring up the Sydney 2000 Olympics? Victorians will remind you that they hosted the event 44 years prior to them.
Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal? It was a Sydney conspiracy to shut them down.
The locals will make the most of the opportunity to barrack against New South Wales and given that during Queensland’s glorious era the squad was basically “Melbourne Storm and Friends”, getting on board with the Maroons is seen as a good fit.
Expect the Victorians look confused as to why Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk are not playing.
AFL/NRL cross promotion photo – a proud Victorian custom
It’s rumoured that as part of any contract to host a sporting event in the state of Victoria, someone has to pose for a photo with an AFL player.
State of Origin is no exception.
Expect the Origin captains to pose for a pic with a Sherrin that will be front page of the Herald Sun.
This is a Victorian custom as old as time and needs to be respected.
The Visitors are in for a cultural shock
There’s no doubting that one of the benefits of hosting Origin is the tourism dollar.
New South Welshman and Queenslanders will travel down south and spend up big Melbourne putting a serious boost in the local economy.
With that, the visitors will be in for a shock.
Those from Sydney will be gobsmacked about the fact they can enter a pub after 8 pm and where those on the door and behind the bar will actually be friendly.
For the Queenslanders who have come to visit, not only will the weather be a little colder than usual but some pre-game customs won’t be available in Melbourne.
There’s no pub like the Caxton near the MCG where you can enjoy a pre-game schooner XXXX, instead, they’ll head to the establishments around the Richmond area such as the London, Cricketers, The Royal (for some class), Corner or the dirty Swan and enjoy a pot of Carlton.
Queenslanders will get looks and laughed at if they even dare request an XXXX Gold.
Stay away from laneway hipster bars, they’ll give you looks for liking “The Sportsball”
NSW and QLD Premiers will get salty about the game being played in Melbourne
Expect Annastacia Palaszczuk (QLD premier) and Gladys Berejiklian (NSW premier) to do a doorstop press conference this Wednesday morning bemoaning that the game is being played in Melbourne.
Along with the respective participating state premiers getting salty about the location of the match, expect Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to remind them about what it’s like to see a crowd (even though the NRL are giving away a heap of tickets).
State of Origin is a wonderful way to remind us all that Australia did indeed make a huge mistake in voting to federate the country back in 1901.
Locals will get jealous of Origin
State of Origin wasn’t created by New South Wales or Queensland.
It wasn’t even thought of by Victorians.
The concept of mate against mate, state of against state was actually thought of by the West Australians in Aussie Rules.
Tired of having their star players move to Victoria and play for the big V when the games were the VFL v the WAFL, state of origin was born in 1977 when a WA team smashed Victoria.
The Queenslanders saw this concept take off and used it for the first time in 1980 in Rugby League and the Legend was born.
When the VFL turned into the AFL, interest was lost from players and fans and the last time Victorian’s had a state of origin team was in 1999 when the Vics thumped South Australia.
With Origin the biggest fixture in Rugby League, the locals tend to have a Joni Mitchell moment when they realize they don’t know what they’ve got, till it’s gone.
Melbourne people will pat themselves on the back on what a great sporting town they are
Melbourne Cup, Australian Open, AFL Finals, Midweek ladies championships at the local tennis club – the people of Melbourne love the chance to give themselves a pat on the back about what a great sporting city they are.
Melburnians have a busy sporting calendar, they love turning up to sporting events and love to give themselves a round of applause for doing so.
If you read the Herald-Sun or The Age the next morning, reports will suggest that Victoria won game one in the State of Origin, not New South Wales or Queensland.