Moments in time
From a home grown prime minister to heinous criminals, mineral S boom to financial gloom, serial Origin champions to seminal ballet debuts … QUEENSLANDERS HAVE SEEN THEM ALL.
Key events since 2005, and where to next
If the budget busts and the coalfields run out of black gold, there’s still one night in this state when it simply does not matter. When Queensland wins the annual State of Origin series. It’s why sports fans remember a year like 2008 for their third Origin series win in a row rather than the small matter of a Global Financial Crisis, which seemed so peripheral by comparison.
And it’s why one of the sporting highlights of the past decade for Queensland is not a name but a number: nine. Nine wins from ten Origin series. It’s one of those jaw-dropping statistics that the competition had never seen before and will surely never see again. It’s the golden stud in a bountiful decade for Queensland sport, featuring three A-League soccer titles, one Super Rugby championship, two Queensland NRL premierships including this month’s Broncos-Cowboys grand final, two national netball championships for the Firebirds, and two Sheffield Shield cricket titles.
For a defining moment, nothing can compare to the Cowboys’ stunning golden point win over the Broncos in Sydney last week to make them this year’s premiers, already widely acclaimed as the greatest grand final of all.
If pushed for an Origin moment to remember, you might like to toast Cooper Cronk for his serieswinning field goal in 2012, or Darren Lockyer for his send-off 34-24 win in the final game of his final year in 2011. But the glittering era belonged to no one man or moment. Rather, it was the luxurious sum of many committed parts.
For standout solo performances on the global stage, Queenslanders had more than its share of triumphs over the past decade. The sight of Adam Scott, normally so emotionally reserved, raising his arms through the gloom and quivering with joy in 2013, after becoming the first Australian to win the coveted US Masters golf tournament, will be a celebrated national moment for as long as sport is played. For a while it seemed nothing could top it in the emotion stakes – then along came Jason Day. His win in the recent PGA tournament in the US, his first victory in one of golf’s four majors, would have drawn a tear from a tombstone. From the death of his father when Day was 12 to the dedication of his Queensland-based mother who worked multiple jobs to support him – then refused to take a cent back – this was one of the most touching tales of Queensland life, not simply sport and his week-long tenure as the world’s number one golfer last month was another high.
When hurdler Sally Pearson won a photo finish at the 2012 London Olympics for a cherished gold medal, her effort gained lustre because of her journey to get there. This was the woman who, as a Gold Coast schoolgirl, used to catch two buses to training where she worked so hard she would occasionally vomit beside the track.
The word toughness was redefined by Queensland Olympians in London. Cyclist Anna Meares, the coalminer’s daughter from Blackwater in the state’s Central Highlands, could have been finished for good when she broke her neck in a fall in 2008, yet four years later she took on England’s track queen Victoria Pendleton in front of her own obsessive fans and emerged with an epic gold medal.
Swimmer Stephanie Rice’s three Beijing golds in 2008 and tennis player Sam Stosur’s 2011 US Open final win over Serena Williams completed a wonderful decade for Queensland sportswomen.