It’s not very often that you get to witness Australian sporting history – live in the making. Which was exactly what made the night so great for our Now That’s Pure Gold prize winner Kelley Martin.
Joined by her partner Jason and friends Phil and Nat – the group of four made the journey down from Newcastle for the highly anticipated 2018 State Of Origin Game II last Sunday night, which would determine whether the NSW Blues would finally put an end to the Maroons’ run of three-straight series wins.
Peter Hajevski – store owner of Kelley’s local greengrocer The Fresh Ingredient and good friend Scott, as well as James Kellaway – CEO of FreshMark (NSW Chamber of Fruit & Vegetable Industries) also joined the winners. And with the help of a few drinks and a selection of delicious gourmet foods upon arrival, everyone was soon getting into the Origin spirit!
But noone was more excited than Kelley and Jason. Draped in blue, the two were clearing gunning for a NSW win!
“When we arrived in our box we were just in awe. From the amazing view we had of the field to the seemingly endless service of food and drinks throughout the night, it was like nothing we’d ever experienced before.” Said Kelley.
“You didn’t even have to be a fan of football to enjoy it. The atmosphere in the place was surreal.” Said Jason.
An earlier scare for the Blues saw marquee Maroon Danny Gagai cross the right-hand corner for what appeared to be the opening try of the night, but this was overruled by the NRL bunker and the score remained square.
But not for long as Valentine Holmes posted the first try of the match soon after, putting the Maroons up 4-0.
Things weren’t looking good for NSW as Gagai finally got his try, and a conversion by Holmes put the Maroons up by 10.
Then in a twist of fate, the Blues showed their first signs of fighting back with a 24th minute try from Josh Addo-Carr.
A lull in the home crowd soon changed into a noticeable roar as momentum began to pick up for the Blues who were awarded a penalty try – minutes from half time.
Two successful conversions by the Blues made all the difference, leaving the field up 12-10 and full of optimism entering the next half.
The energy inside ANZ Stadium was electrifying, as a sea of Blues supporters blanketed the sell-out crowd of over 82,000 fans.
The second half proved to be a battle to the bitter end, with both sides securing tries throughout the remaining 40 minutes.
Reduced to 12 men after James Roberts was sin-binned and captain Boyd Cordner notionally on the sideline with concussion, NSW were desperate to hold onto their lead as the final minutes of the game seemed like an eternity from the stands. That was until the moment everyone we’d all been waiting for: the full-time whistle.
And oh did the crowd go wild, chanting “New South Wales!” as we celebrated our first time winning the Series since 2014.
Reflecting on the night, Peter from The Fresh Ingredient couldn’t have been happier.
“The colour, the noise, the action: it’s all part of the entertainment and made for an unforgettable night.” He said.
“It was really good to spend time with Kelley outside the typical shop environment. She has been a loyal customer to the Fresh Ingredient for some time now so to reward her in such a big way for that is more than I could ever ask for.”
Kelley was also incredibly grateful for winning, thanking Your Local Greengrocer and Peter/Mary from The Fresh Ingredient for helping to put together the competition and event.
“The hospitality that was given to us was an experience that none of us had been privileged to before. We enjoyed every moment & the NSW win just topped off a memorable night for us.”
“And FYI, we have checked our calendar & we are good to go – same time, same Game next year.” She joked.