ORIGIN MATES OF
THEY may only be 11 years old but Burdekin youngsters Jett Dabelstein and Jackson Munn are suitably qualified to pass judgment on the best team in the State of Origin.
After all, Queensland has reigned supreme for most of their lives.
“We’re just generally better,” Jackson said. “We have better players and more experience and that’s why we’re going to win.”
Jett also rates the kicking skills of our own Johnathan Thurston.
“We’re also not grubby, plus it’s being played in Queensland, so we have to win,” he said.
“WE do not leave the field without victory.”
Those famous words, spoken by Arthur Beetson, will inspire the Maroons as they prepare to summon the spirit of a Queensland legend to win tonight’s Origin decider.
When the Maroons are greeted by 52,000 screaming fans at Suncorp Stadium tonight, it will be exactly 35 years to the day that Beetson led Queensland into Origin’s maiden battle on July 8, 1980.
It was the same night a rookie Queensland centre turned 20. His name is Mal Meninga, the Queensland coach who hopes his 55th birthday celebrations tonight will be graced with a ninth series win in 10 years.
Queensland pioneer Kerry Boustead was a 20- year- old winger left awe- e- struck as Beetson, at age 35, charged on to Lang Park with chalkk dusted across the front of his Maroon jumper.mper.
The 2011 deatheath of Beetson ( right)ight) rocked the Qu e e n s l a n d league fraternity,y, but Boustead d says Meningaa will ensure the e Maroons’ class of 2015 honour Big Artie’s openning- night mantra. ra.
“It’s a Queensland tradition ... this team will take a bit of the Maroons spirit from what we did in that first game,” said Boustead, who scored a try as Beetson led the Maroons to a famous 20- 10 triumph in Origin’s inaugural clash.
“It blows me away to think that night was exactly 35 years ago. There were a lot of unknowns that night. We were very much the underdogs but Arthur gave us that belief.
“I remember the moment Artie got up and spoke. He said, ‘ Listen, no one leaves the field tonight without a win’. He then said we had to do whatever it took to get the win for the Queensland people.”
For Meninga, July 8 carries added meaning. In 1980, he was a fresh- faced tyro who ignited a roar at Lang Park when he scored the first points in Origin history: a penalty goal on his way t to seven goals from as many a attempts.
Now, Men Meninga hopes the ghosts of Lang Park and the Beetso Beetson legacy will drive the Maroons to victor victory in his 30th gam game as coach. “It It’s a fantastic st stadium and when it’s full, it can be u uplifting for t the guys,” he sa said. “Hearing the Queensland call can lift the side.”