Ah, state against state, mate against mate. It’s the most powerful mantra in Australian sport.
If you think that slogan gets tossed about too much and doesn’t mean anything to the players anymore, that’s probably because you’ve never heard Petero Civoniceva’s take on it.
The Fiji-born 33-Origin Queensland legend was kind enough to share an anecdote with us for our July 2017 edition of Inside Sport. His tale from 2012 demonstrates perfectly the Origin rivalry between players … particularly among club team-mates.
We asked Petero if he remembered any hard hits in particular which he might have copped in a State of Origin match over the years. For example, a bell-ringer that left him thinking: What the hell am I doing here?”
“There was a funny one which stands out,” said the 309 NRL-gamer.
”It’s actually from my last series. I played in the front row with Tim Grant at Penrith. I remember shooting him a text at the start of the Origin build-up just to wish him all the best – to enjoy the week, rip in and we’ll see each other out there on the field.
“We kicked off to them and something in me thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to try and give it to Tim.’ From over-eagerness, I jumped up to get the big fella, but he knocked me for six!’
“I also played against my Broncos team-mate Michael De Vere. I was a groomsman at his wedding, and him for me. Come Origin time though, those bonds go out the window. That’s what’s made Origin so special for such a long time: it’s mate vs mate, but you’re certainly doing whatever it takes for your state.”