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The time had come for the second State of Origin rugby game. This is the annual three match battle between NSW and QLD which we had first watched in Yamba, NSW and much the disappointment of the NSW locals, QLD had won.

QLD were now tipped to win this second leg and if they did, history would be made. QLD had beaten NSW for the previous three years and neither side had won for four years consecutively for over 70 years. If QLD beat NSW again this match they would have won four years running.

This was not a game we wanted to miss especially as we were now in QLD. We wandered up the RSL (Services) club. The club was decorated in balloons of blue and maroon, very sporting of them, and there were supporters for both sides in the club. The atmosphere was very exciting and people were definitely on a buzz. By half time QLD were in the lead but NSW were putting up a fight. In the end QLD won and there was a quite cheer around the club. There was not as much celebrating as expected for such a momentous occasion but it was clear that the Queenslanders were happy. There is still one more game to be played this year in the series but it will not change the outcome. Hopefully we will be able to see that one too.

QLD Winning a Historic Victory

QLD Winning a Historic Victory

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As my surfing days on the east coast of Oz are limited (apparently something called the Great Barrier Reef gets in the way as you go north) I decided to take a surfing lesson to improve a little quicker.  The guy who took me out is a relative of the Henwoods and is an ex-pro as well as a top guy.  We headed out to Pippi beach and paddled out to start the lesson.  We met up with Shane and Justin Henwood out the back.  As the surf was pumping they decided to switch shifts at the hostel and come surfing for the day.  The lesson was really useful and I managed to steal the wave of the day, which Justin was especially narked at.

After I got back to shore, I turned back to look for the boys and spotted a guy who was in a different class to the rest.  After watching him for a minute we figured out it was Andy Irons!  Apparently he was staying at Angourie for a few weeks getting a few bits of footage for Billabong.

Andy Irons surfing at Pippi Beach

Andy Irons surfing at Pippi Beach

When I got back to the hostel I told Ruth and some of our friends.  We decided to head down there to watch and take Charlie for a walk whilst we were there.  We watched him for about an hour (with poor Charlie not getting much attention).  It was easy to spot Andy from the other surfers as his paddling and riding was just effortless.  Justin and Shane went back out there with him and the rest of the locals but Andy stayed out of  the way and caught the waves people left.  Lots of the locals were a bit miffed at him as he kept showing them up!

Other pro surfers have also been known to surf around Yamba recently with Joel Parkinson showing up a few days late and legend Tom Curren riding Angourie.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to see them but it goes to show how good the surf is around here.

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Once a year there is a huge rugby league competition between the states of New South Wales and Queensland. New South Wales (the Cockroaches) wear blue and Queensland (the Cane Toads) were maroon. There is a big rivalry between the two states. Queensland had one for the past three years and had an experienced team this year. New South Wales were not winning their local games and had an inexperienced team to field however they were all young and had a lot a pace to them. There was a lot of anticipation around. The contest is played in three parts consisting of three 80 min games. This was the first of three.

We were staying at the Yamba hostel in NSW which made the atmosphere even better. Justin and Chook are NSW fan as they was born and breed in NSW however his Shane and Chris support Queensland for no known reason other than to annoy the others. The hostel was decked out in blue and drinks on the bar were $2 until half time. It was a good atmosphere and everyone was very excited before the game.

Unfortunalty experience won over youth with some rookie mistakes making trys disallowed. The atmosphere dropped about half way through the first quater when NSW started to lose all hope of winning. Everyone is hopeful for the next game of the three.

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