Sports

Maroons’ Origin win was a miracle




Another miracle has been performed in Lang Park, the Cathedral of Crunch, the spiritual home of the mighty Maroons, perpetual outsiders since the start of State of Origin.

For 43 years, Origin has been making sense of Queensland winters. Even on a night when the temperature threatened to drop to the low digits, worshipers gathered and had their hearts warmed by a miraculous performance, an effort so breathtaking only those who had seen it so many times before could believe it.

Of course it was never a question of it, all those who proclaim themselves there.

But when Cameron Munster succumbed to one of those perennial viruses that plague the Queensland camp, the media was filled with the smug mutterings of a host of skeptical Thomases.

There was, however, a Thomas who believed; and Dearden’s name will always be mentioned when the heroic efforts in time of need of the Maroons are remembered.

Few of the media seemed to think they had a prayer, which makes one wonder if they’ve been watching for the past four decades. Blues cynics try to poke fun at the power of the Queensland spirit; and yet, once again, it was there, clear to all.

As Ben Hunt’s redemption was confirmed in the 78th minute in the form of an epic pilgrimage to the tryline, it was impossible not to be amazed by this moment of spiritual ecstasy.

Queensland’s apparent lack of interest in Game 2, the dead rubber, may have fooled many in the south, but the conviction of Sunshine State, home of the Big Pineapple, never wavered.

Perhaps the biggest leap of faith was not believing the Maroons would win, but appointing a coach who had never coached before.

Billy Slater and Ben Hunt celebrate. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

It now seems obvious that Billy Slater was divinely destined to be Queensland manager. In the post-match press conference, he spoke of the resilience of Queenslanders in the face of fires, drought, floods and cyclones, and how they never give up. how the team channeled that spirit.

If a politician said those words, you’d roll your eyes, but the plain truth of what he said happened on Suncorp grounds.

Much has been written about Slater’s work ethic and knowledge of the game.

But he obviously also has superb footballing intelligence.

Getting Cameron Smith to help was a stroke of genius. King Wally Lewis may be the greatest player of all time, but Smith was certainly the most effective. No one knows more about winning in Origin games than Smith, and he must have made a significant contribution to the Maroons’ tactical supremacy.

What have we learned? Well, really nothing. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it, and in six months the memory has faded, and we will hear no more of the blue dynasties.

But it’s good. In fact, that’s kind of how we like it here.



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