When we found out that we were going to be in Madrid for State of Origin game three, we were a little concerned. For me this is the biggest game of the year. I’d rather see QLD beat NSW at a State of Origin decider than Australia win the World Cup – something that the Spaniards may find hard to fathom.
We arrived in Madrid at 7pm on Tuesday night and kick-off was to be at 12 pm on Wednesday morning. I’d looked on google and I couldn’t find anything that looked like a reliable way to watch the game. We couldn’t guarantee ourselves an Internet connection so the best option for us was to go to a pub to watch the great contest. I got on to an internet forum that said that the best chance of catching the game was to go to an Irish pub. We eventually got onto the internet on Wednesday morning and found an Irish pub that said it was going to show the game. Luckily we found it quite easily, close to one of the many underground metro stations.
As soon as I walked in, I felt at home. Almost everyone in the pub was Australian. We were all dressed so similarly and were were all there for one reason. We found somewhere to stand and started watching the game. The bar had 2 projectors, one at each end, and we soon found out that it was divided down the middle with Queenslanders at one end and New South Welshmen at the other. We were at the wrong end and surrounded by blues supporters.
There wasn’t much room at the QLD end and the blues around us were friendly enough so we stayed there. With 5 minutes to go at 20 all, NSW were looking dangerous. Rob said to me, “this is too intense dude, I’m going to go watch with the Queenslanders.”. There was even more tension on the QLD side than on the NSW side but within minutes we had scored a drop goal to put us in the lead by 1 point. We were ecstatic, but we knew that it wasn’t over yet. For the next few minutes all eyes were glued on the screen and whenever we made a courageous play, our fearless leader (a haggard looking, old Queensland battler) would do the countdown… “1.. 2.. 3.. QUEENSLANDER!!”
There was only one minute to go now and the tension was mounting fiercely. Then Rob said something bad. “I can’t wait to celebrate a QLD victory”. He was immediately silenced by everyone around us with loud “shooshing” noises and thumps from the touching of wood. Sure enough, with 30 seconds to go, NSW had decent field position and 6 tackles. Luckily they made their final mistake, and with a mighty “QUEENSLANDER” roar, the game was over and QLD had won 7 games in a row. The New South Welshmen left hastily and for the next few hours we basked in the glory of a magical Queensland victory, thousands of kilometres from home.