TRIGGER WARNING: This article discusses violence against women.

A study presented during the week, featuring data from the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research from between 2012-2017, revealed a 40.7% average spike in domestic violence across NSW on State of Origin days.

That’s only the reported violence too. The real figures will be far more bleak. This is added to a 71.8% spike in non-domestic assaults across the state.

There’s a clear link: but pointing this link out isn’t very footy, is it?

After all, how do staid statistical reports of domestic violence spikes counter breathless reporting such as this?


How do you counter the fact that in 2008, NSW five-eighth Greg Bird:

a) Won ‘Man of the Match’ for NSW in Game One.

b) Was charged with assault after glassing his girlfriend in the face.

c) Was reinstated to the NSW team in 2010, after re-entering the league.

How do you counter that during the round 14 Eels vs. Cowboys match, the players took part in a special ceremony aimed at stopping domestic violence while the logos for Bundaberg Rum Super Saturday were emblazoned all over the screen and field?

How do you counter that “NSW Origin aspirant” Matt Lodge just resigned with the Broncos despite agreeing to pay out over a million dollars to victims — male and female — after a violent rampage in NYC, and after his ex-girlfriend spoke out about years of horrific physical and mental abuse, including death threats. He’ll be in the lineup for 2019, if not for Game Three.

“In the twelve-hour window from 6pm to 6am on State of Origin game night, women and children in New South Wales are almost 40 per cent more likely to become victims of domestic violence”, said CAPR Deputy Director, Dr Michael Livingston – who authored the study.

“This is a significant and consistent spike across the three-game series in each and every one of the years examined.

“Of note, when we compare those findings with Victoria, a state with less interest in rugby league, the data reveals no statistically significant increase in violent assaults on the dates in question,” Dr Livingston concludes.

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education Chief Executive, Michael Thorn adds: “It’s crystal clear that the State of Origin fixtures are leading to a surge in domestic violence. It’s happening on the National Rugby League’s watch and women and children are being harmed as a direct consequence of these games.

“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.”

Still, while ever we treat these future CTE-cases as heroes, the violence will continue.

After all, what’s Origin night without a fight?

The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line – 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

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