If you’re not really into State of Origin football, or any form of Rugby League for that matter, and find yourself having to watch a game with those you love, here are a few tips to survival.


1. Choose a team, get the gear. Don’t sit on the sideline, choose a team and follow them passionately. It’s more fun that way. It’s also a GREAT excuse to shop. If hubby, dearest, objects to your purchases, your response should be along the lines of “But darling, I love you and want to spend quality time together doing something you love”. Include a cute little smile, just in case.


2. Get good food. Do not underestimate the importance of food to eat during the game. It can be pizza, pies or cheerios (cocktail franks), or chips, chocolate and drink – either works! You’ll need something to nibble on during the boring bits, and something to quickly take a bite of when the opposition scores a try and you have to go quiet REALLY quickly. ( Take your cue from the people you are with, sometimes it’s silence or you can yell at the TV/players with everyone else. If you don’t feel comfortable yelling at the screen, food provides an ‘excuse’ not to do so, and thus, do not underestimate the importance of food.)


3. Keep an eye on the score. It helps to pretend you’re watching if you know which team is winning. I can’t help but think back to my return to touch football… awkward!


4. Follow the cue of the rest of the people in the room. If they’re screaming, then you scream. If they’re saying it was a penalty, then go with that.



5. Sit on the fence.  If the above fails, and you’re asked for an opinion… if in doubt respond with, “hmmm, could go either way, really”.


The “gist” of NRL:

  • There are 2 teams, each with 13 players on teh field, standing in a line across the field facing towards the middle of the field.
  • One team has the ball and runs toward the line at the other end of the field (called a “try line”).
  • They score a “try” by putting the ball down on the ground over the try line. It’s worth 4 points.
  • They then get a chance to kick the ball, and if it goes between the two goalposts its a “conversion” and gets them 2 more points.
  • The other team attempts to stop them doing this by “tackling” them (running at them from the opposite direction, grabbing them and throwing them to the ground).
  • After 6 tackles the team has to hand over the ball so the other team can have a go (sharing is caring). so after 5 tackles the team with the ball will generally kick the ball as far as they can up the field to give it to the other team, making the other team have to run further up the field to score a try.
  • Every now and then the guys feel a little down, so they have a little cuddle. It’s called a “scrum”, which is just the manly name they give to it. They start playing again by rolling the ball between the legs of one player (go figure) and then grabbing it again.
  • If the referee (“ref”) thinks someone is being mean, he gives the ball to the other team. This is called a penalty. If they’re close to their try line and are lacking the confidence in themselves that they’ll be able to score a try, they can choose to attempt to kick the ball between their goalposts which scores them 2 points if successful.
  • At any point in the game, they can kick the ball between these goal posts and score 1 lonely little point.
  • They attempt to score as many points as possible in 40 minutes, after which they have a team huddle in the dressing room and then come back out, swap sides, and play for another 4o minutes.
  • Team with most points wins.
  • If they are level scores at teh end of the game, they keep playing until the next person scores, and that person wins.


There are lots of little other bits & pieces in the rules, but you don’t really need to know them. Just “go with the flow” of whether or not your fellow-football-watchers (ie. those who understand the rules) agree with the ref or not and nod your head in agreement.


Hope this helps! 🙂