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By David Susuve

In Papua New Guinea, there is only one game that can divide a nation, and that is the Ampol State of Origin series 1, 2 and 3.

It’s the time of the year again where families are divided, friends become enemies and more often it’s a time where a little loss and profit is gained.

Despite the game being played in a different country, the series is the most followed sporting event in PNG.

Due to its popularity, the rural communities sit around radios and those in urban towns set up their TVs outdoor or meet up with friends and watch the match in a club.

The game is also used as a revenue earning tool by retailers, to run Origin specials and promotions on TVs and electronic goods.

Even jersey, football merchandise, competition for shoppers to win trips to watch the game live in Australia.

In the hours leading towards the big game, Maroons or blues flags can be seen flying on private cars and in front of houses.

“Team posters are also posted on the side and back of a PMV while others out on the streets paint faces or sell mostly unofficial merchandises.

It’s more like an Independence celebration due to a fair number of passionate supporters putting on the blue and maroon colour everywhere.

This time around, all eyes will be on the Adelaide Oval in South Australia, which will play host to the Origin series opener, when Queensland and New South Wales go head-to-head on Wednesday night.

PNG will erupt in a passionate show of support for a game that has become something of a national obsession.

PNG’s passion for rugby league, and especially this particular game goes beyond imagination.

More than 80,000 diehard fans are expected to make their way to the series opener in what should be a very heated contest.

A local vendor in Port Moresby, Kope Liriope who hails from Central and Gulf province told EMTV’s Sports Show “Sports Scene” recently that he always earns big bucks when it comes to this particular day.

You will find Kope and his peers selling Origin merchandises and painting faces along the bus stops at the Gerehu area.

He said, “I grew up selling on the streets and at no other day I earn big bucks apart from this particular series.

Kope is a died hard Maroons supporter and strongly believes Maroons will win the first game while tipping Hamiso Tabuai-Fido to score the first try.

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