Footy season makes Autumn and Winter bearable
Hip hip hooray. I always feel a bit sad when Summer ends, especially in Canberra, it means any possibility of warmth and even a little humidity is effectively gone. The start of the footy season proper is a good day to take my mind off the discomfort of dry air.
Now when I refer to football, I’m referring to rugby league. The greatest game of all. Sure, we’ve had some preseason games, there’s been the big match between the Australian Indigenous team and the rest, there’s been the Nines and there has been the little series in the UK when our top teams from the last season get a little match fitness playing the English during the peak of their season.
Early season confusion
The National Rugby League (NRL) likes to begin a season with a few Thursday night games. I’m not exactly sure why. All I know is that when I wake up after watching a Thursday night game, I think it’s Saturday until I realise it’s Friday. The Thursday night games only occur for about the first month of the season.
Last night the Brisbane Broncos played the Cronulla Sharks. The Sharks were last year’s premier team. It was good to watch the Broncos defeat them in a reasonably exciting game that seemed to be officiated well too.
The teams I love and hate
So, if you’re not aware already, my favourite teams in the NRL are 1. the Brisbane Broncos, 2. the North Queensland Cowboys, 3. the Melbourne Storm, and 4. the Gold Coast Titans. The teams I dislike the most are 1. the South Sydney Rabbitohs, 2. the Sydney Roosters, and 3. the Canterbury Bulldogs. During the season, I may expand on why I dislike certain teams, suffice to say, you should be able to guess why I support my favourite teams.
Thank you, Telstra for free NRL on my iPad
One of the good things about modern technology is live streaming and being able to watch a game on a tablet in the comfort of being in bed. I don’t have a television in my bedroom and I’m usually in bed between 8.30 and 9 pm each night. I have an iPad with a Telstra sim card in it so I get free streaming because Telstra is a sponsor of the NRL. While watching the game I can also read footy articles from the NRL website off my iPhone.
Every year, I say to myself that I want to be a better supporter and fan by watching more games. I hope I can watch as many Brisbane Broncos games as possible this season.
Footy season also means an opportunity to focus on footy food. For me, that means hot meat pies, sausage rolls, cheerios with tomato sauce, potato chips, corn chips with cheese and salsa, and chicken wings.
I may start doing a footy food series on Yummy Lummy this season.
State of origin
Of course, apart from the final series, the biggest games in football are the three state of origin games between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues. The unofficial names for each team are Cane Toads and Cockroaches respectively.
After an upset in 2014, the Maroons bounced back in 2015 and hung on last year.
For readers, not familiar with State of Origin rugby league history. Queenslanders (Maroons pronounced ma rones) are known as the cane toads (Buffo marinus) and NSW (Blues) are cockroaches (pronounced cock roaches). These are affectionate terms of endearment. As they say, State of Origin is mate against mate, state against state. For those interested, it was Kangaroo great Barry (garbo) Muir who coached the Queensland side from 1974 to 1978 (two years prior to the adoption of Origin selection criteria) and during this time Muir coined the term “cockroaches”, the descriptor of the New South Wales rugby league team still used by the Queenslanders.
Growing up in Brisbane I remember watching year after year footy players who regarded themselves Queenslanders playing in blue because they followed their dreams of playing in the biggest competition at the time, viz., the NSW Rugby League. The late Senator Ron McAuliffe was instrumental in getting the state of origin concept up and running. In 1980 I was in grade ten at Brisbane Grammar School and I remember watching the first Queensland state of origin team train on our footy ovals. It was a little odd watching rugby league players on our rugby union pitch but for me and my mates it didn’t matter. These were legends. Big Arty Beetson and the young Wally Lewis who would go on to become The King, the Emperor of Lang Park.
Queensland is the greatest state in the federation. I loved growing up in Queensland. That should not detract in any way my love for the Northern Territory, the greatest territory in Australia 🙂
If you have an NRL team I wish you all the best for the season. If you don’t care for NRL then I suggest on Twitter you mute the hash tags #nrl and #origin from now until the first week of October because from now until then it’s going to be a great season. 😃👍