‘So much bigger than everything else’: the religion that is State of Origin in Queensland | Joe Gorman

No other sporting event will ever be able to galvanise and reflect the state quite like Origin, an annual event that even non-rugby league followers pay heed to

By midday a crowd of thousands had formed at Southbank, on the edge of the Brisbane River, for the inaugural Maroon Festival. Fierce young men with neck tattoos and wraparound sunglasses. Blonde women in white skirts or shorts. Murris in loud football jerseys sponsored by Deadly Choices. Elderly couples with lanyards and Sunday Mail show-bags. One man dressed in North Queensland Cowboys shorts, a Queensland jumper and a broad bushman’s hat. A Kiwi woman sported a maroon t-shirt with a gold rather than silver fern, emblazoned with the slogan MarooNZ. As proud parents snapped photos, three young children stood in front of an inflatable State of Origin gladiator and yelled, “Go Queensland!”

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