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The Rams may have disappeared, but Adelaide's interest hasn't

They came, they introduced the city of churches to rugby league... and then they were gone.

The mighty Adelaide Rams’ two-year appearance in first grade may have been short-lived, but the influence the club had on the South Australian capital will never be forgotten.

By introducing the sporting-mad city to the working-class game, iconic hotspots like Rundle Mall are buzzing in readiness for the first ever State of Origin match at Adelaide Oval.

And with a sell-out COVID-capacity crowd expected for the historic clash tomorrow night, former Queensland Maroons hooker and most-capped Adelaide Ram Kerrod Walters believes there's still plenty of support for rugby league in the South Australian capital.

"It was exciting times for rugby league in South Australia, particularly Adelaide with it obviously having a fairly-dominated AFL stronghold there," the former Rams captain said.

"But in the two years that Adelaide was [in the competition], they started to get a fair bit of support and I truly believe rugby league could've been a force there."

With the constant debate between the Crows and Port reigning supreme as to who is more superior, the Rams offered the opportunity for fans to put their AFL differences aside and unite for their local club.

Former Queensland great Kerrod Walters in action for the Rams.
Former Queensland great Kerrod Walters in action for the Rams.

“Adelaide people are a bit like Melbourne people... they just love their sport and support their local teams,” FOG #60 said.

“I think in the first year, we averaged around 16,000 to a game and that's better than most of the Sydney NRL clubs in the modern era.

"The support they could've got [if they remained in the competition], considering they'd be a one team, one town club; would've been a good thing [for the Adelaide community]."

Despite the demise of the Rams, the famous Oval hasn't been a stranger to rugby league in recent times with a boisterous crowd pleased to witness a number of memorable epic duels between the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm during the past three seasons.

In fact, five Queenslanders lining up tomorrow night were part of the thrilling contests that had margins of less than two points; sparking the same reverberating atmosphere that was heard more than 20 years ago.

“It was a pretty well-renowned ground and Adelaide people loved coming down on a Friday night or a Sunday afternoon and watch the Rams play," the 41-game Adelaidian said.

"I remember our first home game there back in 1997.

"We got 27,000 - which was pretty much capacity [at the time] - and the atmosphere was really, really good even though you are a bit further away from the spectators.

"I see no reason why the atmosphere won't be State of Origin-like at Adelaide Oval.

The 2019 Telstra Premiership match between Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm at Adelaide Oval.
The 2019 Telstra Premiership match between Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm at Adelaide Oval.

"And I'm sure they would've got a capacity crowd should COVID-19 not had prohibited that."

The Queensland great is also expecting to see plenty of maroon get around the city for the pinnacle event.

“People in general around the world have been starved of sport throughout the year so I'm sure with [Origin] being at this unusual time slot in November, it'll be well-supported in the pubs and clubs around Adelaide," Walters said.

"Plus, I think they'll jump on board the Queensland bandwagon... I mean, we all love to hate New South Wales, don't we?"

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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