The first episode of Wide World of Sports’ Story of Origin podcast will be released on Friday, May 13th. This story is taken from the first episode, The Birth of Origin Subscribe to Stories of Origin Spotify, Apples, Google.
It’s a call made famous by Billy Moore during the 1995 State of the Origin series, and now Maroon legend Paul Vatin reveals the whole story behind the birth of the ‘Queenslander’ war-cry eight years ago.
In the first game of 1995, when players were returning from half-time at the Sydney football stadium, Moore was seen shouting at Nine’s camera, shouting ‘Queenslander’ to shoot his teammates.
It was a match that the Maroons would win on an incredible scoreline of 2-0, at a time when the game was in the throes of a Super League battle.
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But the ‘Queenslander’ call can be traced back to 1987, a series that was locked one-on-one for decision in Lang Park.
Speaking in a new podcast from Wide World of Sports, The story of origin, Vatin revealed that he was responsible for the call.
“It’s 1987 and we’re back in 1-all,” he recalled.
“We had a meeting and Wayne Bennett said, ‘We need something, we need a call for weapons, let’s put on our thinking caps and get something.’
“So Greg Dowling yells, ‘What about the orange?’ And Gilly (Trevor Gilmeister) goes, ‘What about Peach?’
“And Alf (Alan Langer) goes, ‘What about the Comcoats?’
According to Vatin, Langer’s advice met with Bennett contempt.
“Bennett goes, ‘We’re not shouting about comcoats on our trial line,'” he said with a laugh.
“I’m sitting next to Alf and I thought, what about Queenslander, Queenslander? And Bennett said, ‘That’s it, that’s our weapons call.’
“It simply came to our notice then.
“It worked for us, and it worked again in 1995.”
Wally Lewis, the Queensland captain in that series, said the single word meant a lot to the Maroons.
“It just took a word to instantly inspire them, every time that song, and you knew you weren’t just playing for the other 12 guys on the field with you, and the reserve of the bench, and the coach and manager,” he said.
“You were playing for the whole kingdom, for all the people who were so loyal to you.
“They would be disappointed if we beat them, but they wouldn’t turn on you, they wouldn’t throw us in the can. That’s what made us feel so comfortable.”
Vatin also revealed how the 1987 series saw the untimely end of Wayne Bennett’s original coaching career, with Dick ‘Tusser’ Turner, the legendary Queensland manager, being tasked with giving the bad news.
“When Wayne Bennett took office in 1986, Queensland lost 3-0,” Watin said.
“We lost our first game at Lang Park in 1987 … We went to Sydney (for two games) and grabbed Toser Wayne Bennett and said ‘we’re going for a walk’.
“They were going 400 meters and Toser said: ‘Owen, that’s a fact. If we lose tonight, you can never coach Origin again.’
“It’s a big call. He’s the one who had to tell Wayne.”
Queensland won the series 2-1, with Bennett finishing coaching the Maroons in 24 Origin matches, most recently in 2020.
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