A number of NSW players have been slammed by fans over a seemingly innocent photo of them celebrating their State of Origin series triumph.
Queensland provided one final highlight for the retiring Billy Slater on Wednesday night, downing NSW 18-12 in Game III in Brisbane to provide a fitting farewell and deny the Blues their first series whitewash in 18 years.
But despite the loss, NSW were still in a jubilant mood after full-time after taking out the series 2-1 thanks to victories in the first two games.
However one particular photo of the celebrations has sparked outrage among fans.
The NRL posted a photo of South Sydney youngster Angus Crichton drinking beer being poured down the State of Origin shield, dubbing it a ‘shieldy’ – a reference to Daniel Ricciardo’s signature ‘shoey’.
With Damien Cook and Tariq Sims looking on, the players wouldn’t have known the social media storm they were creating, with many fans labelling their actions ‘disrespectful’.
“Why the hell would they be drinking of (sic) the trophy? Bunch of morons that’s what they are,” one user wrote on Instagram.
“NSW do not deserve it look how they’re treating it. This is foul,” said another.
“How disgusting and just disrespectful not only to the trophy but the NRL as well that is not how you use the trophy that is completely wrong. At least with Queensland we know respect,” another person commented.
“No problem with celebration, but these pics just make them look like idiots… no to mention what it says about team culture,” another said.
Many fans were quick to point out that the players’ actions were no different to drinking alcohol out of championship trophies of World Cups, which is commonplace in world sport.
But many were left questioning what the photo says about the drinking culture in Australia.
Australia doesn't have a drinking problem, the TOOHEYS NSW BLUES are just celebrating their win in a respectful and understanding way. (odds already open on Origin 2019). (bet early and you can cash out before the first half) pic.twitter.com/3MhN1wPRMx
— brad esposito 🍃 (@braddybb) July 12, 2018
The NSW team is sponsored by Tooheys New, while Queensland are sponsored by XXXX.
A recent study from alcohol policy researchers revealed domestic violence rates in NSW are more than 40 percent higher than average on State of Origin game days.
“The drivers of domestic violence are complex and many, however, the disturbing findings released today suggest the State of Origin’s particular celebration of heavy drinking, masculinity, tribalism, and the toxic level of aggressive alcohol promotion have collided in such a way as to encourage drinking to excess and domestic violence,” Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education chief executive, Michael Thorn said at the time of its publishing.