NSW own the Stadium but Queensland own the Game
The way God created the world is phenomenal, how magnificent is the multitude of landscapes that intertwine with perfect colours and designs. The way the Ocean meets the sand with the blue waves rolling into the gold sand is always an appealing sight to the eye of the beholder.
In North Queensland there is another one of these great partnerships of sights sounds and colours, and it's the people of North Queensland (Qld) and the love and passion for the game of football (Rugby League).
For the past century North Qld has provided talented footballers to Brisbane and Sydney to bolster their competitions. Whilst North QLD has always been proud to send of its players , they continually longed for a team of their own.
In 1995 the dream came true, the North Queensland community would finally have a team to support of their own. Although the early years where difficult in terms of on field success, the off field pride of North Qld carried the side through until success slowly reared its head in the early 2000's.
In 2005 Paul Bowman lead the charge to an unlikely Grand final appearance, that ended in heartbreak with the newly formed West Tigers proving to much to overcome at the final hurdle.
It took another decade to reach the big dance for the Cowboys and this time they faced there greatest rivals the "big brother" Brisbane Broncos. Since the inception of the North QLD Cowboys, the Brisbane Broncos had won 4 Premierships and were always playing around the business end of the season.
Playing the Brisbane Broncos after 20 years of premiership drought, with a halfback who was searching for that final piece in the "immortal" status jigsaw, the North Qld Cowboys stood up and won the greatest grand final in history.
There are so many stories with the game that it would be near impossible to do them all justice but let's quickly look at a few.
First and foremost we must acknowledge the dominance that the state of Qld has on the entire sport. From 9 State of Origin Series out of 10 in a decade and now an all Qld grand final it's finally time to accept that yes Queensland is the spiritual home of Rugby League.
The spirit of the game was by far a shining example of how modern day rugby league should be played. The NRL is in deep crises through the intentional coaching of southern teams that are intent on spoiling free flowing football through the wrestle and slow down tactics in the ruck.
Johnathan Thurston is the obvious story within the story, the burden is well and truly lifted. Having already won a premiership with the Canterbury Bulldogs, the southern media questions its relevance as he was only a "part" player in the team. I find this opinion utterly disturbing, if you ask any great player who never won a premiership what it means to win one you will quickly discover that Johnathan Thurston's first premiership means everything.
Having won every award available and four Dally Messengers, Thurston can now rest easy knowing that the southern media has nothing left for him but admiration. It was evident after the game just how much he has grown not just as a footballer but a person in the way he acknowledged his family, fellow players and support staff.
Congratulations to the people of Townsville and the greater Northern Queensland, I was there for every home game of the entire season back in '95 and I watched with amazement at just how much this team meant to you. Enjoy.
Perhaps little more needs to be said of Rugby League than the emphasis placed on family life. This NRL photo has been across the media and social media illustrating this core aspect of the game.
Josh Hinds is a school chaplain on the Gold Coast, a family man and PSI's IT professional. Josh is an experienced writer on international sport.
Josh Hinds' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/joshua-hinds.html