The National, Friday July 19th, 2013
EVERY year in Papua New Guinea during the State of Origin series we hear of instances where fans hurt and injure each other in the aftermath of a game that takes place in another country.
Shouting matches and punch-ups are not uncommon as are instances of TV sets getting smashed or thrown in the sea by disgusted fans or public property defaced by celebrating and/or angry fans.
In one way of another, there is bound to be some kind of imprint that rugby league’s most intense and passionately-followed series has on league fanatics but in PNG the term fanatics takes on a whole new meaning.
People getting killed and property worth thousands of kina being destroyed is simply taking Origin passion to another level – and the strange thing is we are not even Australian.
Sure we may have a great affinity with things Australian but to get violently mad because of a game in another country is pushing the bounds of credulity to its limits.
In Lae on Wednesday night, one man lost his life in the aftermath of Origin III-related violence. As a result six houses and three trade stores were burned down.
Why can’t the people who obviously love the game understand that at the end of the day it’s just that – a game.
It may be that this Origin hysteria could be a type of mass madness that grips its victims and turns them into violently inclined individuals.
And the cause is the result of a game between a Blue team and a Maroon team.
It doesn’t get any crazier or weirder than that.
Some might even say that Origin day is like a pseudo-public holiday in PNG where followers take the opportunity to drink to excess and celebrate or ruminate on the fortunes of their team.
Thankfully, an Origin match will never be played in this country because it could start a civil war.