Two Great But Very Different Games

I love my Rugby League live, even though an afternoon or evening on the couch, in front of the plasma, watching Rugby League is more than acceptable – it’s great.

State of Origin, game 3, 2012 at Suncorp will stay with me for a long time, maybe forever as this game has been rated as the most important game ever played. I am not going to dispute this and in fact I have read recently that because of this game’s incredible viewing audience, and general interest, State of Origin Rugby League is now rated as Australia’s premier sporting event. “Bigger than the Melbourne Cup and bigger than the Ashes” was the southern based commentary. Who could disagree?

It’s not just the on-field winning results that makes the winning memorable. I love the way that our current Queensland team has managed this success, how they themselves have behaved and what they said post game. One recurring theme that comes through loud and strong is “humility”. This Queensland team is arguably the best, most complete team that has ever been assembled and yet they are humble, both individually and collectively – players, coaches and support staff. This humility is their greatness and will be their legacy.

My other recent and enjoyable live game was the Gladstone Brothers verses the Edmonton Lightening under 12 game played at the Marley Brown and Gladstone Junior Rugby League complex as part of the annual Jason Hetherington Cup.

This game was not beamed around the world nor had tens of thousands in attendance but it presented magnificently. A SOO series did not hinge on the result but this under 12 game in Gladstone showcased Rugby League in the very best possible light and is a credit to the teams and officials involved.

The Junior Rugby League and Marley Brown 4 field complex in Gladstone is a shining example of what can be achieved by dedicated local volunteers, cooperative and supportive Government departments and representatives, local companies who want to put something back into their community and pragmatic sports administrators who genuinely want to make a difference and engage the community. To describe the whole carnival and complex as impressive is a massive understatement.

I am always hesitant to name names because I know that these wonderful volunteers  don’t do it for the publicity and sometimes  public acknowledgement can be a deterrent to some but the big risk is that you always leave someone out and that can offend. That said, I will risk this and mention without too much fanfare; Brian Pengelly, the tournament creator and chief organizer, Jacquie Jones the official with so many titles and jobs and my old mate Peter White. I also acknowledge the very welcoming lady at the gate, the young lady who made the best steak burger outside of Beef Week, the young man who made a great brew of long black coffee and everyone else who contributed in any way at all.

Some elements of this under 12 game and carnival competed with SOO for live Rugby League enjoyment (I can assure you that the catering and welcoming at Gladstone was superior to the SOO experience) and the passion and humility was present in bucket loads at both events.

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