ORI­GIN MATES OF

Townsville Bulletin - - TOWNSVILLE BULLETIN - PETER BADEL

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.

Fair enough.

“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.”

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