State of Origin fans go wild after 'cheeky' Welcome to Country

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Queensland got an unexpected rev-up after the pre-game Welcome to Country before State of Origin III. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Queensland got an unexpected rev-up after the pre-game Welcome to Country before State of Origin III. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Rugby league fans have given a massive thumbs up to the Welcome to Country delivered by Uncle John Graham ahead of State of Origin III.

The series might have already been won by NSW, but Graham saw fit to fire up his beloved Maroons in a cheeky end to a well received Welcome to Country.

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Uncle John, a Kombumerri man and a traditional custodian of the Gold Coast region, was invited to give the Welcome through his work with the Yugambeh Region Aboriginal Corporation Alliance.

He was widely praised on social media not only for giving an informative and stirring Welcome to Country, but also for having a bit of fun afterwards.

Whether or not his exuberant shout of 'Go Queenslander' managed to fire up the crowd that was still making its way into the stadium worked is up for debate - but the fans at home were loving it.

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NSW will be driven by a dozen years of Queensland dominance as they try to flip the script and complete the most emphatic State of Origin series win of all time.

The Blues have the chance to pull off their first whitewash in 21 years on Wednesday night, with COVID-19 offering them the rare opportunity to win all three games on Queensland soil.

A win by 29 points or more will also make it the most lopsided series in history, with Queensland having never inflicted consistent floggings like this.

But it is the prospect of a whitewash that the Blues want most.

NSW driven by prospect of rare State of Origin whitewash

So rare are they that even Queensland managed just one during their glory years between 2006 and 2017 when they won 11 out of 12 series.

NSW captain James Tedesco spoke of his own disappointment during that period on Tuesday, not seeing a series win between his 13th and 21st birthdays.

Almost every other player has similar stories, with Brian To'o going from Year 2 to high school graduation with just one series victory.

Coach Brad Fittler also watched on as a trainer, assistant coach and commentator, before getting his own shot in 2018.

"Absolutely (it drives us). I know people might think it doesn't matter (tomorrow night)," Fittler said.

"But it's what we do when it doesn't matter that counts."

Blues coach Brad Fittler is keen for NSW to seize a rare opportunity for a State of Origin whitewash. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Blues coach Brad Fittler is keen for NSW to seize a rare opportunity for a State of Origin whitewash. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Fittler spent the latter half of Queensland's dominance leading his Hogs For Homeless bike tour around country NSW towns, surveying Blues fans on what had to change.

When he took over as coach he swore to stay true to that, suffering just one shock series loss since.

"Our whole intention was to end up with a team that NSW kids looked up to and they were their role models," Fittler said.

"That comes from not just performing on the field but also off the field. I think players have now got the opportunity to be that person.

"They get to change lives and do great things if they choose to.

"That was the intention eight years ago and we're only just starting to get there now."

With AAP

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