VENTURING into any Sydney pub last night was like stepping foot in my first apartment - a seething mass of cockroaches from wall to wall.
Anyone with sense and functioning nostrils would back away upon catching their first whiff of my adolescent abode, onto greener and more hygienic pastures.
But not last night.
As a Queenslander in New South Wales, I steeled myself to the inevitable onslaught of taunts about how "Thurston is a New South Welshy" and "I've got a bend in my banana".
It was nostalgic from the get-go.
No XXXX Bitter on offer and I was not going to support the enemy state's wet sock flavoured offerings, so Victoria Bitter got the vote.
Not out of a "pot", mind you.
Asking for a pot of beer will be met by blank stares from the oblivious, or a snarl from those who have at one stage travelled north to drink in God's own state.
For some bizarre reason, these southerners have replaced the half-pint's rightful description with "middy" - even though a middy is the smallest receptacle on offer other than a shot glass or a bottle cap.
Fairly trivial in the scheme of things, and we had a game to worry about.
The way I saw it, apart from Thurston's over-confident attempt to put away a 46m penalty goal - he said his legs were too bony in the post-match interview - it was a tidy match.
Pulling Paul Gallen out due to injury seemed to keep the dirty tactics down to a minimum.
Second-half calls of, "there's 80 minutes in the game, mate" quickly made way for "there's two more games in the series, bucko".
I even won a few under-the-table shekels, which I promise to declare to the tax office.
Amid all the jibes and well-meaning chest poking, the harshest and most surprising insult came from my mum during a mid-game phone call.
"So have you defected to NSW yet?" she asked right off the bat.
"Come on, I've only been here for a few months," I hit back.
"And to be honest, I don't think they'd have me if I wanted to."
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