Phil Gould can be often maligned for his commentary but the rugby league great can bring the chills when needed.
The multi-hyphenate rugby league legend has regularly been panned by fans particularly recently, copping a hiding after last years’ Grand Final for being too one-eyed for fans and being roasted after continually saying Josh Addo-Carr was the “fastest man on earth” in last years’ Origin.
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But where few in the game can match Gould is with his pre-match speeches and he’s delivered a doozy before Origin 1.
Channelling George R. R. Martin’s immortal words from Game Of Thrones, Gould left fans with spines tingling as the sides come out to kick off the series.
“I want to talk about bravery,” Gould said. “In these final moments in the dressing rooms these players are at their most nervous. The rookie players may have watched Origin on TV but it’s about to hit them in the face and there is no doubt they will start to have insecurities, do I deserve to be here, what will it really be like? Will I be good enough? It’s fear of the unknown that starts to grab them.
“For the players that have been here before, it’s fear of the known. They’ve already experienced what Origin mentality and physicality is like. They know they need to get back to this level every time and steel themselves. That’s not easy when you know how much it’s going to hurt.
“There was a passage I read in the Game of Thrones many years ago of a conversation between the father and his son. The son asked: ‘Is it possible for a man to still be considered brave when on the inside he is truly afraid?’ To which his father replied: ‘When you’re truly afraid, that is the only time a man can be brave’ and that’s what you will see tonight.
“Nerves, insecurity, fear, it will give way to courage and bravery. It will give way to the commitment you have to your teammates and your state. It will give way to the commitment you have to do whatever is necessary to win. Why? Because that’s what Origin players do.
“And above all else these boys want to be Origin players. Let’s cheer on these brave souls.”
Social media went nuts for the spine-tingling scenes.
And that was before the game even started.
It was an incredible scenes at a packed out Queensland Country Bank Stadium in State of Origin’s first sojourn north to Townsville.