Dressed in a blue jersey, track pants and football boots, the Prime Minister joined the ‘Parliamentary Friends of Rugby League’ on Tuesday morning for their fourth annual State of Origin touch football game.
As the group sucked back the cold Canberra air, the group ran to the ‘friendly’ – commissioned by NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo – which took place on the parliament playing field.
The New South Wales and Queensland sides were made up of veteran pollies, such as former Nationals leaders Michael McCormack and Barnaby Joyce.
Some speculated that he was worthy of the Wally Lewis Medal, but the Prime Minister apparently disagreed.
“Barnaby has very short stints on the pitch. Although he represents the NSW seat, he also wears a Maroon jersey,” said Mr Albanese. Today.
“Look, there should be an investigation into some of these players and what they play for, I tell you.”
He then argued with former Wallaby turned Senator David Pocock, who also took to the field for the Maroons during the game.
“I can report the biggest scandal since GI (Greg Inglis) playing for Queensland, David Pocock of the ACT donning a Queensland jersey.
“They will stop for nothing.”
But the biggest controversy came just before halftime.
With a sweaty and exhausted NSW side already at 2-1, the Prime Minister stepped on the gas and made a glorious run up to a gap.
He was hot on his tail, the new Undersecretary of State, Anika Wells.
The crowd ducked over the try line and cheered, and a delighted Albanian raised both arms as he ran toward the group, before firing a high-five.
But all the while, Mrs. Wells appealed to the umpire, claiming she’d contacted her boss before he put the ball down… and would suggest replays, she did.
The referee finally gave Mr Albanese the benefit of the doubt and awarded NSW the last try of the morning.
Albo’s Blues took home bragging rights and the occasional cramp and won 3-1.
Asked about the controversial appeal at a press conference, meters from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ms. Wells laughed the controversy away.
“Before I walk back into the Prime Minister’s Office, I was thrilled to be the Sports Minister, it was an honour.
“I think we can all agree that the referee will probably be the next governor general based on that decision,” she said.
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