NSW: Bloated, smug delusions of grandeur
I stood at a tin urinal alongside Mal Meninga once.
I know it’s true because at some stage later that evening, post-urinal, amidst the hazy celebrations following a Queensland Origin win in Brisbane circa 1982, and having toasted the victory at several of the city’s nightclubs, I got a tattoo that extended up my inner calf and over the knee joint. It reads: “I stood at a tin urinal alongside Mal Meninga.’‘
Now what happens at the urinal stays at the urinal. I can only say that it was a thrill to be so near a champion footballer who, just hours before, had been tearing up Lang Park on behalf of the state. And suddenly there he was in the nightclub water closet, a bullock balanced on its hind hooves, staring into a cluster of deodoriser balls.
Fast forward 30 years and that same man is under attack for writing a pithy little column in a Sunday newspaper, chiding the “rats and filth” south of the border for poisoning a monumental Queensland team with their arrogance and disrespect during the 2011 Origin campaign.
Those southern folk labelled Mal’s column a rant, bizarre, possibly the act of a lunatic. NSW NRL officials want to take our Mal to court if he doesn’t say sowwy.
Well, it’s time to get a few facts straight in this feud and stop the wet glove slapping.
Mal’s column actually revealed he is an astute student of history.
His derision of NSW and its attitude of born-to-rule superiority; its blatant, bloated, grotesque, petty and infant-like smugness; its inflated, illusory and entirely self-manufactured delusion of grandeur, brought into even starker relief every Origin series, actually has deep roots in Queensland history.
The former colony of Moreton Bay was formed as a repository of convicts from NSW who were going a little soft down there on Sydney Harbour. And for more than a quarter of a century our Queensland forebears toiled to fill the coffers of arrogant Sydney fat cats. Only on achieving separation in 1859 did our blood, sweat, tears and money stop flowing into their accounts.
Any wonder the Origin series is so vehemently passionate? Mal was merely citing recorded historical facts and showing an understanding of a complex psycho-generational phenomenon reaching back into the 19th century.
The man should be given an honorary PhD, not a writ.
Regarding rats. To take issue with Mal, his comment comparing the behaviour of some of those in the NSW rugby league fraternity to rats is a little unfair on rats.
A study out of the University of Georgia in 2007 concluded that rats are not stupid and possess what is known as “metacognition” - that is, the ability to reason or think about your own thinking. In short, a rat knows when it doesn’t know something.
Having lived in Sydney for several years, this does not seem to be a part of the behavioural repertoire of NSW primates, particularly those capable of throwing about a football.
In addition, rats are incapable of vomiting. They can’t burp either. These are qualities not shared, from my experience, by the NSW rugby league fraternity.
So Rattus rattus has been slightly maligned here, although in the future there may be rats who spread malicious rumours, false facts, plant lies in the media, whinge, whine, throw tantrums, blow raspberries, sook, cry and suck their thumbs on a NSW Origin team bus on the way back to the hotel after being defeated by a superior sporting unit in Maroon jerseys.
Also, rats are largely colour blind. So if those of you down south look to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and recognise that the large and triumphant new flag flapping away there is actually maroon, then you are technically not a rat. Though you may be, at heart, or by mind, a rat. If this matter goes to court, it will be a perverse use of the judicial system. Mal was merely expressing his post-series opinion as a coach.
What about the Blues?
Ricky Stuart should be cited for still calling himself “Ricky” despite his obvious mature distance from the childhood sandpit.
Additionally, he should be fined for not announcing the full team line-up in Game Three until just hours before kick-off - he blatantly deprived millions of Queenslanders of hours of mirth and belly-laughs.
And the entire NSW squad, including the coach, should be ordered to take elementary mathematics classes leading up to Origin 2012. With any luck, by next winter they will all know how to count to, and spell, the number “seven”.
It’s the only thing they’ll need to know.
This article appears in today’s Courier-Mail.
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