Picking my top 10 favourite Queensland State of Origin players of all-time is one of the toughest tasks I have been given.
I could name a top 50 and still leave out some greats of the game who I have admired hugely.
There are so many players have that produced special performances for Queensland throughout Origin’s 40-year history.
Some played 30-plus Origins. Others made only one or two appearances for the Maroons.
But what has made Queensland players so special over the years is that very few could be accused of not giving everything they had for the Maroons jersey when they took the field.
In saying that, here are my 10 favourite Queenslanders.
Who was your favourite Maroon of all time? Scroll through Gordie’s list below and vote for yours. If they’re not on the list let us know and post their name in the comment section.
Queensland captain Artie (Arthur) Beetson leads the Maroons out on to Lang Park to play the first ever Origin game in 1980. Picture: Geoff McLachlanSource:News Limited
At the age of 35, “Big Artie” set the tone for State of Origin when he famously led Queensland out in the first ever game at Lang Park in 1980. Beetson was a guy who spent much of his career in NSW but his inspirational effort to play that first game made Origin what it is today. He inspired the next generation of Queenslanders and continues to drive the Maroons today. To have that sort of impact after only one game says it all about Arthur.
Wally ‘The King’ Lewis in action in 1991.Source:Supplied
Lewis grabbed the torch from Beetson and somewhat became the next Arthur for Queensland. Wally produced an incredible eight man-of-the-match performances. There have been so many great players since but no-one matches what “The King” did for Queensland. If you put them all in a bag and shake it around, Wally still comes out on top.
Mal Meninga was as tough as any Maroon to pull on the jersey – and has a fair record as a coach too! Picture: Anthony WeateSource:News Corp Australia
Meninga’s impact on the Maroons is unique as he did so much for Queensland as both a player and coach. Mal played 32 games for Queensland and was one of the great Maroons players before going on to coach 10 series, winning nine of them, including the famous eight-straight dynasty. Mal passed on the knowledge of the fabric of what the jersey was built on following some tough years for Queensland.
Captain Trevor Gillmeister chaired off the field after the Maroon’s victory in 1995 State of Origin.Source:Supplied
It wasn’t the fault of the players in 1995 that the game was split and the efforts to “The Axe” to drive that side and get off his hospital bed epitomised what Queensland is about. Folklore says he was warned by doctors he could die if he played. Chris “Choppy” Close and Dick “Tosser” Tosser said to him ‘what better place to die than Lang Park in a Queensland jersey’. He pulled the drip out, led Queensland to a famous victory then went straight back to hospital.
No player has played more Origin games, or lifted the Origin winners shield more often than Cameron Smith. Picture: AAP Image/Dave HuntSource:AAP
You can’t play a record 42 Origin games and not be considered a Queensland great. Smith’s record speaks for itself and he played a huge role in Queensland’s decade of dominance. Even in those great sides and those great players he played with, Smith was the glue that kept them together. He never played a bad game for Queensland.
Dane Gagai always gives his very best for the Maroons – and is often among the best on ground. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Gagai is a personal favourite of mine. You can never question his efforts for Queensland. Pretty much every time he has pulled on that Maroons jersey he is in the top three players for Queensland. It’s not about your standing in the game, it’s about what you do for Queensland. He has served that jersey as well as he possibly could.
Greg Inglis in action during game one of the 2018 State of Origin series. Picture: Adam HeadSource:News Corp Australia
Inglis has got so many great Origin moments in his 32-game career but there is one that sticks out for me. Sensing his team needed a lift in Game One of the 2018 series at the MCG, “GI” flew out of the line and made a bone-crunching tackle on Tom Trbojevic. They said he was offside but his willingness to do that proved what the Queensland jersey meant to him. Inglis played the co-main event for so many years and put his ego to the side, but he became the main event that night.
Billy Slater walks out for game 3 of the 2018 series. Picture: AAP Image/Dave HuntSource:AAP
Few realise how tough Billy really was and the gritty things he did in key moments. Billy was a true team player but also had the ability to come up with a matchwinning play. His chip and chase in 2004 was one of the great Origin tries and signalled the beginning of a great career for the Maroons. He fought back from a serious shoulder injury to rack up 31 games for Queensland.
Allan Langer may be the best halfback to ever play Origin for Queensland – though the guy below him on this list could play a bit too …Source:News Corp Australia
“Alfie” has so many memorable Origin moments. He has kicked field goals to win games and even come back to State of Origin from England to inspire Queensland to a famous series victory. They don’t come much more special than Allan Langer.
Darren Lockyer, Cameron Smith and Matt Scott speak to Johnathan Thurston of the Maroons who sits in a wheelchair after the match after injuring his knee during game three of the 2011 series. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
I can still see “JT” being pushed out in a wheelchair at Suncorp Stadium after he suffered a knee injury in Darren Lockyer’s last game in 2011. Every Queensland player went to help him on to the field. None of the crowd left that night, they wanted to see JT back out there. He finished his Origin career with a memorable Game Two win in Sydney to save the 2017 series. It was a fitting way for JT to bow out of the Origin arena.
Originally published asVote: Who’s your favourite Maroon of all time?
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