To this day Mark Geyer can't explain why no punches were exchanged during his iconic confrontation with Wally Lewis in Game Two, 1991.

What Origin Means To: Mark Geyer

In the lead-up to the 2014 Holden State of Origin Series, NRL.com reveals the personal stories of the superstars who helped shape the contest into one of the fiercest rivalries in world sport.

It's one of the greatest, all-time Origin mysteries: Why didn't NSW firebrand Mark Geyer, standing toe-to-toe with Queensland icon Wally Lewis in the driving rain at the old Sydney Football Stadium, just throw the damn punch?
 
Almost 13 years on and Geyer still can't tell you why. But one of league's most intimidating big men of the '90s at least knows one thing – that time-stopping moment would've been a non-event if he did.
 
"Everyone says to me about that run-in with Wally, 'Why didn't you hit him?'" Geyer, now host of Triple M Sydney's The Grill Team, tells NRL.com.
 
"Well, I don't think we'd be talking about it today if there was a fight. It was moreso the unknown. Everyone wants to know if I would win against Wally Lewis in a fight. People often wonder who would've come out on top."

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The answer, Geyer believes, is irrelevant. What is, is the fact that a bloke with just three Origin jumpers in the closet is forever enshrined in Origin folklore, all because of that one snapshot back in 1991.

People say that this interstate rivalry, this other-worldly level of rugby league is the pinnacle of the game. And for most people, that's where Mark Geyer will be remembered.

"You always want to be remembered for something and there's been blokes who have played a lot more Origin games, blokes who were a lot better a player than I ever was – they just get older and older," he says.
 
"Origin started 34 years ago. Me and Wally was 23 years ago and it was in the Sunday paper again as the number one moment.

"Every time you get mentioned in the same sentence as Wally Lewis, you gotta take it!"

It was a watershed moment about a decade in the making, having watched the inaugural interstate face-off with his old man when he was 12.
 
"I was allowed to stay up and watch footy that late at night – it was midweek," Geyer recalled. "Dad, who was a big Parramatta fan, was over the moon with this new concept because it was teammates against teammates.

"Seeing Artie Beetson run out – I think he was 35 or 36 as captain, that's one memory that stays with me forever. That was the first time I really knew what Origin was. I suppose that was also the first time I thought maybe one day I could play that.

"I was playing PSSA under-12s for NSW on the wing at the time. It was a new concept and I knew Queensland had been bashed a bit with the old concept. Whoever came up with the new one was brilliant because here we are, 34 years on, and even though we've lost eight straight series, this time of the year always has that special feel about it."

And it was a feeling Geyer said almost passed him by when he debuted for the Blues in a blurring 36-16 loss in 1989.
 
"I remember it being very quick. It was the third game, it was a dead rubber up in Queensland and I remember looking at the clock and thinking there must be only 10-15 minutes gone," he recalls.
 
"And looking up, there was only three minutes until halftime and I hadn't touched the ball! I missed a lot of tackles. The first game wasn't a good one. Everything was twice as fast as a normal game.

"You had Gene Miles coming at you all day, there was Alfie Langer, Kerrod Walters out of dummy-half was deadly, and then you had Wally, Mal [Meninga] and Gary Belcher. The Maroons never stopped coming at you – it was quite daunting, actually."
 
But while the first game is etched heavily in his memory, not many will associate the name Geyer with a dead rubber up at the old Lang Park. Instead, it will be the greatest non-fight in the history of rugby league.
 
And so we ask, one more time, does the moment replay in his mind every year? And if so, who does he imagine comes out on top?

"It never changes," he says. "It's always me."