CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
The Sunshine State’s emerging rugby talent are very nervous today, after news broke that the Queensland Origin side is set to revisit the hard but fair initation rituals of yesteryear.
This comes after this morning’s news that Maroons and Melbourne Storm legend Billy Slater has been announced as the next Queensland State of Origin coach – after accepting an offer to replace Paul Green.
There is speculation that Slater will be joined in a coaching capacity by former teammate Johnathan Thurston – who played the role of assistant coach this year. His former Melbourne Storm bash brother Cameron Smith is also expected to join them – but their roles have yet to be finalised.
However, aside from the overhaul of the coaching staff, Slater’s first mission is to bring back the once mandatory hazing of first-time players.
The new coach hinted at as much in a statement on the QRL website.
“Certain elements of Maroons culture have slipped from the programme in recent years. Namely the initiation of new players. There are certain things I went through in 2004 that younger talent are not familiar with. I think we need to work on culture if we want to reclaim the silverware from these smug southerners.
Since the foundation of Queensland Rugby League in 1908, players were unable to be selected for a Maroon jersey until they had skulled a 15 litre drum of dense central Queensland molasses in front of their teammates
It is a ritual aimed at educating players in the pride and history of the state of post-industrial Queensland, a colony founded on hard work and stoic sacrifice.
Molasses, or black treacle in England, is a thick black substance that is created by refining sugarcane into sugar. Sugarcane molasses is primarily used for sweetening and flavouring foods but is also a defining component of fine commercial brown sugar. It is also one of the primary ingredients used for distilling Bundaberg rum.
The tradition was discontinued in 2006 under coach Mal Meninga, after the debutant Sam Thaiday hiccuped halfway through the initation and vomited all over a terrified Adam Mogg, who had also made the squad for the first time.
The merits of the Molasses skull was quickly forgotten about as the Maroons entered their historic 8-in-a-row streak.
However, after 4 series losses in the last 16 years – Slater feels it is imperative to bring the tradition back.
“I’ve already flagged this with some of the younger players. They must ingest 15 litres of Queenslander Pride before they even get a look in.” said Slater.
“This is retrospective as well, so the entire team will have to commit to the drum”
“It’s time to remind ourselves where we come from.”