Image courtesy of Facebook page "State of Origin Fights"
"Mum, why are they fighting?"
I looked up from painting my toenails to see NSW and QLD players throwing punches. I thought it would be special and fun for my 9-year-old son Philip and I to stay up and watch Origin 1 together. We're Eels fans and Blues supporters but we're not fanatical about it. It had been so fun watching NSW get the lead and Jarryd Hayne having a brilliant game, but when games descend into violence (and not just in the stands) that's when I sigh and consider giving up following League all together. These are professional sportsmen for crying out loud. If they can't control their tempers, then what hope do impressionable young children have?
I watched the instant replays of the fight (was it really necessary to replay it that many times?) and listened to the commentry and couldn't believe, just couldn't believe that it was Blues Captain Paul Gallen who had started it. He's captain! He should know better. It turns out he started throwing punches because he felt QLD forward Nate Myles was deliberately trying to injure him during tackles. Still, tell the ref, don't start a fight. He deserved his onee-match ban.
And just when I was feeling like it was all okay and Paul Gallen had been dealt with effectively, explaining to Philip that there are consequences to such actions, Nate Myles who was the target of Paul Gallen's blows says he's disappointed with Gallen's punishment, saying the fight just added to the 'theatre' that is State of Origin football.
If you ask me, the punishment didn't go far enough. Gallen – who plays for the Sharks – missed their clash with the Melbourne Storm as a result of the fight but if you ask me he should have missed Origin 2. Now THAT would have been a proper punishment (except I really want NSW to win Orign 2 now that Origin 1 is in the bag!).
I want to be able to watch sporting events with my kids. I want to show them how true professionals play, how much effort and training they put in, how they perform to the best of their ability and how they demonstrate sportsmanship. Like the Socceroos game against Jordan which they won, with style! Now those are classy boys! GO THE SOCCEROOS!
I know, I know, you're all shaking your heads at me saying, "For goodness sakes Jo, it's League. What do you expect? League is famous for fights like this. PICK A DIFFERENT CODE! PICK A DIFFERENT SPORT!"