On Sunday night, NSW secured a State of Origin victory for just the second time in 13 years.
New coach Brad Fittler led the team to an 18-14 win in game two of the series, in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 80,000. But in the final minutes of the match, while a packed stadium and millions more at home watched on, there was an act of sportsmanship many of us missed.
With five minutes to go, Blues captain Boyd Cordner took a blow to the head in a tackle on his fellow Roosters teammate, Dylan Napa. Immediately, Queensland trainer Allan Langer – an Origin great – rushed to his aid, signalling for the NSW medical staff to assist him.
Suffering a concussion, the 26-year-old initially tried to argue that he could play on, but to many viewers, it appeared it was Langer who spoke clearly and passionately to Cordner, explaining that he needed to come off the field. He stood with the Blues captain patiently, missing the opportunity to support his Queensland team. The act of sportsmanship was widely praised by fans.
Great stuff from Alfie, helping a blue. ???? #Origin
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) June 24, 2018Advertisement
How good was Alfie Langer – huge moment In the game – but making sure NSW player is ok. Top bloke. #origin
— Pig Dog (@pigdog80) June 24, 2018
#Origin well done Alfie Langer. Great respect for your actions to a nsw player when cordner was out cold
— Tony (@ttdmg) June 24, 2018
— Chris Warren (@ChrisWarreNRL) June 24, 2018
My vote is Alfie Langer for Man Of The Match #Origin
— Mumma to The Crocidayo Slayer (@MummaSlayer) June 24, 2018
One of best moments of that game was Alfie helping Cordner. Heat of battle, game on line, incredibly powerful moment. #Origin
— Andrew Bryan (@AndrewBryan321) June 24, 2018
— Nathaniel Eldridge (@fanno36) June 24, 2018
— Pete Fairbairn (@Pete_Fairbairn) June 24, 2018
Cordner left the field to be treated for his concussion, and didn’t return to the field before the final siren. He was also unable to take part in the post-match press conference, and reportedly had to ask whether the Blues had won at full time.
“I can’t really remember the last 12 minutes to tell you the truth,” he told AAP.
Despite coming off in the last few minutes of the game, Cordner was awarded man of the match for his stellar performance.
But ultimately, it’s Langer’s act of sportsmanship that won’t be forgotten. Because win or lose – the wellbeing of the people on the field should always be first priority.