NRL Miss Big Chance in Melbourne

I encouraged all my mad AFL mates in Melbourne to go to the State of Origin last night as they would see a great game and unlike Rugby Union, they would not see a million penalties and the best team on the night generally wins.
“Never again” came the first text after fulltime from Sleepy, then this one from Aids: “you said the refs would not interfere”. To top it off, Matt rang me after the game and asked me what Nat Myles did to deserve the “Man of the Match” award.To be honest, I didn’t have any answers for my mates. I struggled to defend what they had said, and I felt embarrassed for the game.

The NRL had a golden opportunity to sell their game to many thousands of parochial Victorians who have only ever watched the game of AFL and if my mates are any yardstick, then they failed.Tony Archer is considered clearly the best NRL referee but he was not part of Origin I last night. The controversial decision to sin bin Michael Jennings swung the momentum back to the Maroons when the NSW Blues were on top. My mates also did not understand why Greg Bird was penalised for what looked to be a classic Origin tackle. The Maroons scored off the next play, but the major turn-off for the boys was when video ref Sean Hampstead awarded Greg Inglis a try when he clearly knocked the ball on before Robbie Farah kicked it. “That’s been a knock on since 1908”, channel nine’s Phil Gould said who has coached more winning Origin teams than anyone. “That’s the rule book gone mad”, Gus concluded. I pride myself on not getting emotional when assessing a game and considered the NSW Blues were the best team on the night and damn stiff not to get home and go to Sydney one up. The onslaught from my Melbourne mates did not sit well with me after the game so I rang Mick and Matty for a beer at the Kings Cross Hotel after Channel Nine forced us to wait 30 minutes before they somehow gave us the shocking news that Nat Myles was officially the best player. Did Sean Hampstead have a vote? Mick and Matty are both professional punters and both agreed that NSW should have won. Having my objectivity reaffirmed I started on the first schooner to dissect the game with the boys who were as one that the Blues should not make any changes. Channel Nine used us up for 30 minutes of commercials before they announced the “Man of the Match” but overall 2.5 million people watched last night’s Origin including 313,000 in Melbourne, but I know 14 Victorians who will not be backing up again. Sorry boys.

By Scott Woodward of