Five worst Origin moments: Queensland

Chris Chard Columnist

By Chris Chard, Chris Chard is a Roar Expert

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    Justin Hodges is free to play, an that's good for the game. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Colin Whelan)

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    With their all-out dominance in the interstate arena it would be simple for many fair-weather footy fans to think that the history of State of Origin has seen the Maroons sail smoothly to success.

    This, however, is simply not the case, as for every Darren Lockyer or Johnathan Thurston moment of magnificence, there has been a Daniel Wagon or Stu Kelly catastrophe.

    Yes, there have been some dark times indeed, and here are the five worst Origin moments in Queensland’s history.

    More State of Origin:
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    Martin Bella playing the ball wrong way
    Origin. The gladiators’ cauldron. The toughest of the tough. The most skilled players in the… oops hang on, that balding fat bloke just played the ball the wrong way.

    Perhaps not a massive life or death style mistake from big Marty – he’d save that for the grand final later that year – but nonetheless one that put the Blues in a great attacking position and is unlikely to feature in any of Big Mal’s pre-match bus ride videos this year.

    Justin Hodges debut blunders
    Before Justin Hodges was a niggling, spoiling, aggressive veteran player, he was a fresh-faced… niggling, spoiling, aggressive player.

    Making his debut for Queensland in Game 2 of the 2002 series, Hodges was reunited with the coach who’d given him the brush at the Broncos in Wayne Bennett. He repaid him for a season spent in reggies with an individual performance even Frank Spencer from ‘Some Mothers do ‘ave ‘em’ would describe as ‘mildly catastrophic’ before being hooked with 20-odd minutes remaining.

    Somehow Queensland still won the game and went on to draw the series, thus paving the way for Hodges to re-unite with Bennett at the Broncos and safely walk the streets of Brisbane without Brad Thorn as his bodyguard once more.

    Gorden Tallis send-off 2000
    While the 2000 series has become something of a ‘happy place’ for increasingly desperate NSW fans, the first game of the lopsided series was actually an extremely tense affair.

    When NSW levelled the scores after a lead-up that saw more knock-ons than a Greater Western Sydney match on an ice hockey rink, Tallis – who wasn’t captain for the match – confronted Bill Harrigan like he’d just seen him whiz in his water bottle, and after a heated exchange big Gordy received his marching orders.

    NSW would go on to score a late sealing try before going onto demolish the Maroons in the remaining two games of the series.

    Game 3, 2000 – the Hand grenade
    Yes, if there was a personification of Queensland’s woes in 2000 it was the grinning Edward E Neuman-like face of Bryan Fletcher going through a clearly pre-rehearsed, and annoyingly perfectly executed try celebration as the Blues ran up a netball score on Mark Murray’s men.

    While Queensland sides have been beaten before in Origin, they’d never been a laughing stock, and to this day if I happen to be in any public house North of the Border when this moment is replayed on the telly I know I’ve got about six seconds to get my Wollongong-raised rump underneath the nearest pool table before I end up looking like the Blues’ bus after its rolled down Caxton street.

    Mal’s last game in 1994
    The 1994 Origin series was one of the most intriguing to date. There was the miracle finish in Game 1, the huge crowd in Melbourne for Game 2 and the decider in Game 3, which also happened to be Mal Meninga’s last match.

    As a man Mal had been there since day dot, and even in his final season was still the single most influential player in the game. With NSW never having clinched a decider at Lang Park, the stage was set for Queensland’s night of nights.

    Or not.

    What eventuated was a flop of Billy Idol proportions, as the Blues muscled their way to a tough victory, with Mal suffering the added indignity of laying the last hand on the Blues’ winning try.

    Chris Chard
    Chris Chard

    Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar since 2011. Tweet him @Vic_Arious

    The New South Wales State of Origin team for the 2018 series remains a mystery, with new coach Brad Fittler facing plenty of selection headaches. So we want you to tell us - and all your mates - who should start for Blues in Game 1 with our team picker.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • May 26th 2014 @ 7:09am
      Dawes said | May 26th 2014 @ 7:09am | ! Report

      Some other worse QLD Origin moments:
      2005 Origin Series – Selectors forgetting how to spell C-a-r-r-o-l (TBA), he won a match for us back in 1998
      2001 Origin Series – Selectors naming Daniel Wagon 5/8 for all three games

      • May 26th 2014 @ 9:23am
        Jimbo Jones said | May 26th 2014 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        Amazing how poor their depth was in 2001 compared to now..

    • May 26th 2014 @ 7:44am
      Adam Julian said | May 26th 2014 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      Really enjoyed that! Michael O’Connor kicking the late goal wasn’t too good for them either,

    • May 26th 2014 @ 8:22am
      maximillian said | May 26th 2014 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      As a Blues fan the hardest thing about this article is their most recent “worst moment” happened 12 years ago in 2002!

      Surely they are due for a few clangers this year.

      • May 26th 2014 @ 12:54pm
        Boomeranda said | May 26th 2014 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

        haha, nice one!

    • May 26th 2014 @ 9:11am
      Johnno said | May 26th 2014 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      1987, Mark Mcaw and NSW ref Mick Stone kill QLD chances at the old lang park. Mick stone ruled Mccaw try, back in the days of no video or TMO, Lang Park went off was an outrage, at the Maroons fortress.

      • Roar Guru

        May 26th 2014 @ 9:32am
        Paul D said | May 26th 2014 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        That was a fair try Johnno, so I don’t see how you can say it was an outrage. Was a brilliant decision by Mick stone in a real pressure cooker situation.

        No qualms with that one being awarded. We’ve had plenty more good moments than bad over the years!

    • May 26th 2014 @ 9:52am
      BrisbaneBhoy said | May 26th 2014 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      Where has all this hand grenade hating supposedly coming from? The hand grenade celebration has never been an issue for anyone I know, nor myself. The match performance (or lack of it) from the Qld players that night is what was talked about in not good light. As for the hand grenade thing, many I know (including myself) found it rather slightly amusing rather then showing any animosity towards it.

      Then again, who knows. Maybe I’m out of touch with the rest of Qld with regards to this topic?

      • May 26th 2014 @ 9:57am
        mushi said | May 26th 2014 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        A lot of my mates hated the hand grenade, some screaming for us to stomp on the face of the culprits in the next tackle (a little harsh) but I think part of the hatred stems from it being the poster moment for that horrible horrible match.

      • Roar Guru

        May 26th 2014 @ 10:23am
        Paul D said | May 26th 2014 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        I think people hated it because it epitomised the arrogance of NSW at that particular point in time. They were treating the game as a circus, and mocking the QLD team.

        Remember at the time too, there were quite a few post-try celebrations going on in the NRL, which weren’t being received all that well, so there was already plenty of people predisposed to not liking that sort of thing.

      • May 26th 2014 @ 1:19pm
        AlanKC said | May 26th 2014 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

        There’s plenty of us in CQ who still thank Fletch every night before bed for the hand grenade. Gall gets an honorable mention from time to time as well.

        Thanks for the ammunition boys!

      • May 26th 2014 @ 4:15pm
        casper said | May 26th 2014 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

        yep, you are out of touch. denigrate an opponent at your peril. That’s why I hate all the backslapping & head rubbing when someone coughs up a ball unless it’s been a really good tackle, not just when the defence is in the vicinity. As for bad Qld moments, seem to recall a clear try to lockyer in 2002 with a put down between his feet short of the dead ball line that somehow Bill Harrigan ruled no try the game ened up a draw. We got used to him shafting us, sent gordie off in 2000 for a clearly correct observation about his impartiality. You guys always cried about the grasshopper, but Bill Harrigan always seemed to know where to give the penalties to NSW so they did the most damage. penalty count even but not the impact.

        • May 26th 2014 @ 8:50pm
          Off To Mandy's said | May 26th 2014 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

          Post try celebrations in general was a big part of the game back then. The footy show was giving out awards to the best. This one was good, but the Raiders ten pin bowling was the best. Had nothing to do with arrogance, it was just what was happening at the time. QLDers simply like to feel hard done by but have short memories. QLD song after winning for Kangaroos. I will tell you arrogance, Broncos singing St George can’t play after winning a GF!!!

          • May 27th 2014 @ 8:13am
            mushi said | May 27th 2014 @ 8:13am | ! Report

            How is that a short memory the QLD song thing happened after the hand grenade.

    • May 26th 2014 @ 12:34pm
      handles said | May 26th 2014 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

      Here is the worst one that I remember. Still makes me sick just to look at it. Is that Steve Ella (14) who comes in over the top when Brohmann is on the ground?

      • May 26th 2014 @ 12:52pm
        Realist 1975 said | May 26th 2014 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

        I thought it was Ray Brown of Manly as opposed to the zip-zip man.

        • May 26th 2014 @ 1:24pm
          AlanKC said | May 26th 2014 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

          From the players list I reckon it was Ella.

          Could easily be wrong though.

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