I spent the 25th of May studiously avoiding any news of the first State of Origin match for 2010.
State of Origin is the greatest rugby league competition in the world. It’s an intense three-game battle between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues, representative teams built from the best players in the Australian Rugby League competition, with colours assigned based on the location of the first team each man played for. It is fast and hard. It’s state against state, mate against mate, a phrase that could apply equally well to the FIFA World Cup. Men that are team mates for most of the year now play each other in state-based teams. For fans, the loyalty becomes country, not club.
But such is the division between those who follow football, and those who don’t, that avoiding new about the State of Origin game meant avoiding Facebook where mate against mate meant the battle between supporters and their less-than supportive friends.
Then I got a tweet: ‘Only 59 days and 13 hours until the World Cup Final’. The hail of approbation that hailed down on the tweeter is normally reserved for shops that start putting up Christmas decorations in October!
With two games to go in the State of Origin, and mere days to the start of the World Cup, as a former football refusenik, I felt I had a responsibility to share the joys of fandom as I see them, in Five Reasons to Follow Football. Go on, try it. You’ll like it.