Alfie Langer

We want to know your top Origin memories! Here are ours

NO ASSIGNMENT could be harder than taking a stroll down Origin's memory lane and picking your personal favourites.

Having seen all but a handful of the 105 games played since the first in 1980 doesn't make it any easier.

From the night the concept began in 1980 with big Artie Beetson planting perhaps the most significant punch in rugby league history on his Parramatta teammate Mick Cronin, to Cooper Cronk's field goal that edged Queensland home 11-10 in game one in Sydney last month, I can tell you it's not an easy task.

Beetson's punch on Cronin gave birth to the state against state, mate against mate tag which best sums up the passion, pride and brutality the contest brings out in players from each side of the border.

It proved the catalyst for what is now a remarkable sporting phenomenon in this country.


So, what are some of my favourite Origin memories?

I will never forget an Origin at the Sydney Football Stadium in 1989, not so much for the closeness of the scores, that was an Origin trademark, but for the amazing courage and immense heart shown by Queensland as player after player was carried off, busted by a brutal Blues defence.

It has been recorded in Origin folklore as the Battle of Sydney and as Queensland's finest hour.

But in my mind, it was much better than that.

I remember Alfie Langer was the first to go, carried off with a broken ankle. Mal Meninga followed with a bad eye injury, then Paul Vautin copped a bad elbow injury.

I was writing the story in my head: "A gallant Queensland could not overcome a horrendous injury toll ...", when a courageous Bob Lindner limped from the field, having played on as long as he could with a broken leg.

Then, as if ordained - the King - Wally Lewis, grabbed the football 40m out from the NSW line, beating defender after defender and carrying Blues' fullback Garry Jack over the line for one of Origin's most remarkable tries.

The 1987 series also stands out for me as a cracker after NSW had won a magnificent series 3-0 the previous year.

This was the series where Queensland gambled on a little blond halfback from Ipswich who became a legend.

Langer was the bolter, beating north Queensland's experienced Laurie Spina to the No.7 jersey, vacated after Mark Murray suffered a career-ending eye injury.

As Langer later revealed, it was a daunting debut because he took the field knowing some of his team-mates and even his coach Wayne Bennett were privately fearful his jockey-sized 68kg frame would not handle the ferocity of Origin, or his classy opponent Peter Sterling.

Queensland lost the opening game 20-16, but through no fault of Langer, before levelling the series 12-6 at the SCG.

The decider, which Queensland won 10-8, produced arguably the finest defensive 40 minutes of Origin football, with neither team scoring after half-time.

There are many more great memories: fans hurling beer cans from the Lang Park stands after Wally Lewis was sin-binned by Mick Stone in 1988; the wild 1995 Melbourne stink involving all 26 players; and the famous Lewis-Mark Geyer showdown at half-time in 1991.


Now it is your turn to tell us your favourite Origin memory.

Simply go to the Your Story section of this site to share your favourite Origin memory. It can be a favourite try, favourite player, favourite game ... even a favourite party or celebration.

The best ones may even be published in the lead-up to game two.

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