‘We’ll rouse to arms like sires of yore’: Controversy as full National Anthem sung at Origin

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ADELAIDE, SA – The NRL has surprised critics after requiring the singing of the 1878 original version of the Australian National Anthem at the State of Origin opener in order to ‘heal the nation’s soul’.

Initially revealing that the National Anthem would not be played at State of Origin games, the NRL backflipped following an intervention from the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who allegedly made the call to the NRL chief while putting the finishing touches to his chicken coop.

“It’s been a year of struggle and heartbreak, but singing the full National Anthem will help us ‘combine heart and hand to advance Australia fair’.”

“It is especially useful in closed border COVID times where we are reminded to watch out for ‘foreign foes’ who ‘dare a foot to land’.”

“I also like the line about the flag being first first raised in NSW, which might give us the motivation to crush those smug QLD Cane Toads.”

Last year a number of Indigenous players chose not to sing the National Anthem, indicating it didn’t represent Australia’s ancient history and culture. NSW player, Cody Walker, expressed disbelief that the full version was being used:

“You’ve got to be bloody joking. Have you read the bloody thing?”

‘Britannia rules the waves’, Cook’s ‘True British Courage’, we’ll keep a ‘British soul’ – it’s like they actually want us to riot.”

It is further reported that NRL boss Peter V’Landys has tried to address the concerns by exploring additional inspirational songs that can be sung alongside the anthem:

“We thought about also singing something like John Lennon’s Imagine, but we have to be COVID sensitive and ‘imagining no people’ is a bit too close to home with the players already having to endure a season with only cardboard cut-outs”

“We could also try Meat Loaf’s Bat out of Hell in honour of Victorians coming out of lockdown. I just don’t know.”

Local Christian Ministers have suggested the old hymn ‘I vow to thee my country’, a reminder of the temporary nature of states and nations, as a possible alternative for consideration.

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