“When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high”, go the lyrics from the Rogers and Hammerstein classic “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
Thanks to Sylve Ng and her dedicated band of Queensland faithful, when the Maroons have to face the stormy reception of an Origin match in Sydney, they don’t have to do it alone.
Sylve and a growing band of like-minded Queenslanders have formed a supporters group called the Maroon Crusade, who defiantly cheer on their team in Sydney in the midst of a Blue tide of NSW supporters.
And this little pocket of Maroon resistance is growing rapidly: From humble beginnings in 2006 with a group of 200 people, the Maroon Crusade this year boasted its own bay of seats at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium so 3500 Queenslanders could cheer on their boys with one voice.
“It all started when I moved down to Sydney for work, and things were getting a bit silly having to sit with all the Blues supporters at the Origin games,” Sylve says.
“Because of the stuff that I do with the Broncos and Titans supporters groups, I knew the organisers of the Cowboys and Storm supporters groups, and because they were all pretty much Queenslanders or supported Queensland, we decided to get together to see whether we could get a bay at the stadium for ourselves. “From there, it has just grown.
“We had 3500 this year, which broke last year’s record of 3000. We are slowly growing. We do our own promotions and that sort of stuff, and rely on social media and word of mouth to get the word out there.”
Like true crusaders, Sylve says the next step is conquering new frontiers.
“It has been an ongoing battle, but we are hoping and lobbying that next year we will have our own bays at the game at Suncorp Stadium,” she says.
“We are certainly going to have a bay for a large section in Melbourne, and again in Sydney, but it is still a work in progress as far as getting an actual bay for the game in Brisbane.
“But we have the QRL and the FOGS supporting us, which has been great, and the players support us as well – they love seeing us at the games.”
If you want to get involved, go www.facebook.com/marooncrusade