What Origin Means To: Brett Kimmorley
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.
If ever there was someone who has been involved with the complete emotional spectrum that State of Origin has to offer, you have to look no further than former New South Wales halfback Brett Kimmorley.
The now 37-year-old Canberra Raiders assistant coach has been through the extreme heights and jubilation of State of Origin. After leading his state to a 3-0 whitewash in his debut series in 2000 – and keeping now immortal Andrew Johns on the bench in the process – Kimmorley will always have good memories to look back on during his time in the sky blue jersey.
However sad it may be though, Kimmorley won't be remembered for these good times by the majority of those south of the Tweed thanks to a certain intercept pass he threw in Game I, 2005.
The pass that Queenslanders fondly remember occurred three minutes into golden point extra-time with the scores locked at 20-all. Thinking he'd chance his arm, Kimmorley attempted a long-range pass out wide only for a young Matthew Bowen to pluck the ball out of the air and run 30 metres downfield to secure Queensland a 24-20 victory.
Kimmorley would be unceremoniously dropped from the team by coach Ricky Stuart. His representative papers torn to shreds, Kimmorley was supposedly never to be heard or seen in the Origin arena again though this wouldn't quite be the case.
"I think as a player it was obviously the greatest challenge after the rivalry you watched growing up. To be gived the opportunity to play it was obviously very special," Kimmorley said of his Origin career.
"Sometimes you have great memories and obviously for myself some horrible memories but it was probably the greatest challenge individually I've ever had as a player.
"The intercept was certainly a black mark and New South Wales hasn't had much success since. It was a defining moment. I would have loved to play better at Origin."
While he would return to the fray in 2007 for Games II and III, Kimmorley is most proud of the way he carried himself in the Origin arena during the twilight of his career.
Returning to the New South Wales squad in Game III, 2009 with Queensland having already wrapt the series up, Kimmorley led the team around and prevented a whitewash with a 28-16 victory in favour of the Blues.
"The return to Origin in 2009 was probably a successful one," Kimmorley said.
"After probably the lowest of lows that any individual can have in that arena in being the first man to decide the fate of a state... you probably thought I was never going to get the opportunity again, but the next few Origins I played after getting picked again it was like I had no fear.
"I wasn't scared of losing or it becoming any worse than what it was so it was an appreciation of getting the opportunity again. Even though the results were mixed in those games it did make you feel rewarded that they would turn to an older guy for some leadership or to steer things around even after what I've been through."
With 10 appearances for the Blues to his name by the time retirement came around, Kimmorley will always have fond memories to look back on.
Though hardcore New South Welshmen will never forget "that" pass.
"Obviously it was a setback and that's what I'm largely remembered for so it's something that will always be there and will have to live with," Kimmorley said.
"Hopefully there's a bit more than that to be remembered by though."