MOORE THAN ORI­GIN

Life & Style Weekend - - READ - WORDS: DAVE MCLE­NAGHAN

Queens­lan­ders love State of Ori­gin but none are as pas­sion­ate about the Ma­roons as former barn­storm­ing back­rower and Sun­shine Coast lo­cal Billy Moore.

With Game 2 of the 2018 se­ries be­ing played at Sydney’s ANZ Sta­dium to­mor­row night, Life & Style spoke with the league leg­end to get his views on his beloved team and life af­ter foot­ball.

Where did the Ma­roons go wrong in Game 1?

There was a lot to like con­sid­er­ing the ad­just­ment in ex­pe­ri­ence we had with the re­tire­ment of Cameron Smith. All in all, I thought we gave a rea­son­able ac­count of our­selves but it wasn’t good enough and we need to im­prove and we will.

Around the mid­dle of the ruck is where they caught us. I’ve never feared a rookie as much as I feared Damien Cook (Blues dummy half ) be­fore the match and un­for­tu­nately it was well placed. He was bril­liant. If we shut down the ruck and stop him breach­ing us there, you’ll shut James Tedesco too and that will go a long way to help­ing us in Game 2.

Would you make per­son­nel changes to the Queens­land team for Ori­gin 2?

There will prob­a­bly be changes just through the re­turn of play­ers who weren’t avail­able for Game 1. If Billy Slater is right, he’d come back in at full­back, with Michael Mor­gan go­ing to the bench, and that was the team ini­tially picked any­way. Ev­ery­one talks about how great Slater is with ball in hand but de­fen­sively he’s bril­liantly as well and he’ll be great help­ing plug that mid­dle.

Matt Scott needs to play well for his club to force his way back in. An­other guy who has put him­self into cal­cu­la­tion is Tim Glasby. He flies un­der the radar but he made the team last year on the back of Cam Smith say­ing he could do a job and he did.

We don’t need many changes at all, we just need to get a touch smarter and lift an ex­tra 5 per cent.

The in­fa­mous catch-cry “Queens­lan­der” is Ori­gin folk­lore – when you screamed it in 1995, was it planned or a spur-of-the­mo­ment thing?

I wasn’t the cre­ator of the “Queens­lan­der” call. It had been in the Ma­roons camp for 10 years but no­body had ever seen it ex­cept for the play­ers. The Blues play­ers knew of it and it p---ed them off be­cause they’d hear us yelling it on the field.

It started in the mid-80s and is a Queens­land ral­ly­ing cry. The late, great Peter Jack­son was my first room mate and he told me what Queens­land meant to him, play­ing for Queens­land and what the Queens­lan­der call is about. It means three things: help your mates, find a so­lu­tion and no ex­cuses.

In 1995 when you saw it pub­licly, it was the first time there was a cam­era in the tun­nel. As we started walk­ing down onto the field, and I say this in jest but it’s true, the great­est thing in my life took place. All 16 blokes shut up ex­cept me and the cam­era caught me scream­ing “Queens­lan­der” (laughs).

How do you spend the Ori­gin pe­riod each year?

I go to every game – I do cor­po­rate work. For Game 1 this year we hired our own jet to Mel­bourne, my­self and Mick Crocker were the am­bas­sadors and we had 200 peo­ple on the jet. We stayed in a five-star place, hired our own pub, went to the game. It was bril­liant. The next one in Sydney I’m go­ing on a har­bour cruise. The last game I missed was for the birth of my son 12 years ago.

When you’re not busy with that, you’re flat out with Augello’s at Mooloolaba. How did you get into the restau­rant game?

I’ve been a part-owner for seven years. I had a restau­rant be­fore that af­ter I first left the North Sydney Bears, the One Up Bar in Mooloolaba. I al­ways say it’s the stu­pid­est thing I’ve ever done in my life. Truly, if you think Ori­gin is hard, hav­ing a first-floor fine-din­ing restau­rant in Mooloolaba makes Ori­gin look like a walk in the park (laughs).

Small busi­ness is tough. Restau­rants are even tougher. About 95 per cent of all restau­rants go broke or don’t make any money. Un­for­tu­nately, no­body told me that be­fore I started. I sold out af­ter seven years and then went away and did some­thing else, cor­po­rate speak­ing and small busi­ness talks. I al­ways said to peo­ple, “If you take one thing away from my talk, just take this – never do a restau­rant.” I feel like a hyp­ocrite be­cause I was say­ing that for five years and then I went back into it but Augello’s is one in 100.

PHOTO: CADE MOONEY

FOR THE LOVE OF ORI­GIN: Billy Moore, of Augello's Restau­rant, Mooloolaba. The former Queens­land Ma­roons’ State of Ori­gin star is still heav­ily in­volved in rugby league’s show­case se­ries.

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