Home > The Final Word > Inside the Origin camp – Day 5 (Game Day)

Inside the Origin camp – Day 5 (Game Day)

Game day had finally arrived, and even though this is normally the longest day of any week, it is by far the most exciting!

Once again it was fairly easy day workload wise. No media until after the game, so I had not too much to do. A later breakfast, then a team walk and some cricket kept everyone occupied and calm for a while. After that lunch, then the afternoon off until a pre-game snack, and off to the ground.

In saying that, lunch was probably the most interesting part of the day. Most of the players had something light, then went back to their rooms. Some of the staff, including Laurie Daley and Paul McGregor hung around, and had a chat, mainly to kill some time. For me, it was a little surreal, sitting over lunch with one of the greatest players in the game’s history, and him actually asking, and listening to, my opinion. The topics wavered from rugby league, to the mine collapses, to any other sport, generally with some great stories in between. Just like earlier in the week with Blocker, you can sit, glued to the converstation, and just listen.

I took the oppurtunity to go for a quick walk later in the afternoon, and was greeted by the ‘fresh’ Albury weather. For the first time in the week, Albury was finally living up to its freezing reputation, and as a result, my walk was shortened quite a bit. Some more time wasted, then we met downstairs ready to go to the game, and there were plenty of nerves. We loaded up the bus and waited for the team, who were in a meeting, and all that nervous energy was subsided as Choc bounced up the stairs from the meeting room, iPod speakers on one shoulder, back-pack on the other, blasting some old school 50 Cent for all the world to hear. The noise didn’t stop until we got to the ground, and as funny as it sounds, it really helped settle a lot of the people in the group.

Once at the ground, we had to get our game faces on. The rooms were set up, and everyone was helping out to set something up. Of course as the rookie, I got left with moving the ice from the freezer to the tubs. Not such a bad job, until you find it was -2 degrees outside! Oh well, I’m helping. Slowly the game came closer, and the boys came out for the warm-up. Again I was called on, although this time I had plenty of experience in my role, chasing the balls around from the kickers.

The nervous energy was starting to mix with the cold, as I got the shakes. Kick-off finally came, and I spent the whole first half trying to get NRL.com to give me some stats. As a result, most of the game up until the 50th minute was a blur, but when Hinchy dived over to level the scores, we all started to get a bit nervous again. Field goals were attempted, most missed, and Mullo hit the upright with only 3 minutes left. Both sides seemed to warm to the idea of a draw, but then Jarryd Hayne went for the win with his  trademark chip and chase. Heighno ran the block, and House picked up the scraps. A long ball out to the left, and of all people, Choc was away! With too much pace for the chasers, he ran the ball in under the posts, and we had won. It was over, but boy it was fun!

Everyone was releaved post game, and a victorious mood fell over the post match. After a few drinks there, the un-injured players and those with the bye went out, and enjoyed a good night, mixing with the City boys as well.

The next morning, a few dusty individuals, but still everyone got home fine, and the week was over. Despite this, it is something I will never forget……

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