AS THE Origin gladiators prepare for rugby league’s biggest prize tonight, two Tamworth mates will be locked in their own “hair-raising” battle.
On the line is Geoff Watson’s beard, which he’s sported for 25 years, and Lester Solomons’ hair, which has been slowly disappearing for about the same period.
Each year, the footy-mad mates have a friendly bet about the Origin result, but this year it’s become much more personal.
“I think my beard’s pretty safe,” Mr Watson said.
“Lester’s been ribbing me for years about Origin, so I thought we should put something on the line.”
Mr Watson, who with wife Donna runs Wendy’s at Shoppingworld, has decked the store out in Origin colours and has even been brave enough to wear a Maroons jersey to work.
“I’ve only been abused four times so far today, so it’s going pretty well,” Mr Watson said.
For Mr Solomons, the potential loss of his hair is worth the humiliation.
He lost his mum five years ago to leukaemia and is hoping the bet helps raise money and awareness for the Leukaemia Foundation.
“I’m actually feeling quite confident we’ll win,” Mr Solomons said.
“It might be nearly a decade since we’ve won, but we’ve got to come back one day.
“I think I’ll buy a beanie just in case, though.”
The bet is on the series result.
To donate to the Leukaemia Foundation, make a gold-coin contribution to either the Blues or Maroons tin on the counter at Wendy’s.