As a footy-loving male in his mid-thirties I find myself this week struggling to remember a State of Origin series with less enthusiasm and interest heading into Game 1.
Sure come this afternoon around 4ish the apathy will begin to clear and by 5:30pm hundreds of thousands of Queensland and New South Welshmen and women will turn into crazed maroon and sky blue lunatics.
But the usual fever pitch build up that has accompanied Origin over the last decade has been noticeably lacklustre, whilst the pub/coffee shop/water cooler banter from the public has been largely non-existent.
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Gone are the hypotheticals, the over analysis and the hope and excitement of the unknown, replaced by cold hard empirical data which points to one predictable outcome – another Queensland victory.
The Blues are capable of victory but will likely be defeated; whilst the Maroons certainly boast a side inexperienced enough to lose but will in all likelihood win comfortably.
Hard to get excited when it’s put like that isn’t it, particularly if you’re a proud Blues supporter like me.
It’s not just that there are 6 fullbacks in our backline, or the frustrating fact that older or less talented players who have proven not up to it or bland at best have been selected ahead of youngsters who ooze Origin potential.
It is not even the blackhole that is the Blues right side attack with Josh ‘Derek Zoolander’ Dugan on the outside of Josh ‘not-so-action’ Jackson forming the least potent and/or skilful edge in Origin history.
Mind you they have certainly not helped, but as a downtrodden Blues man I am now used to these idiotic selections.
I have tried to put my finger on why I care so less about this season than others.
As I said above I am used to being incredibly frustrated about our selection theories and unlike past years the Maroon’s side is very beatable this season, so my apathy towards the contest can’t just be because I think we will lose.
Indeed some of my most intense Origin feelings have come on the eve of series where I knew we would be pushing it uphill.
I think it is because all the aura and hoopla surrounding origin has finally worn off.
I really hope that this series produces something which brings back the love I had for this contest in my youth, but between the player pay disputes, state eligibility battles and stale commentators trying desperately to tell us how much we should care about this ‘spectacle’ the concept of Origin has, for me and many others, become hard to get excited about.