Origin Player Poll: Selection surprises
Seven players have been notified in the past few days that they could be making their Origin debuts next Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium. We asked some former Origin greats how they were told that they'd be making their Origin debuts.
Gary Belcher (Debuted for Qld in 1986)
We'd played a game for the Raiders and I was sitting down for dinner with my wife and Mal [Meninga] and his wife at the time Debbie and he had to go and make a phone call. We were sitting in a pizza place and of course no one had mobile phones back then. Mal made a phone call to the QRL or someone and he came back and very straight faced said, 'The news is... you've made the team!' I remember that moment so clearly and vividly.
Ben Hornby (Debuted for NSW in 2004)
I found out when I was actually driving home from Dragons training. I received a call from (veteran 2GB broadcaster) Ray Hadley so I found out through him that I'd been selected for NSW.
Cooper Cronk (Debuted for Qld in 2010)
Word came through from my football manager at Melbourne Storm. It was 2010 and I think I was actually around at a couple of the boys' place and I just remember being thrilled. I got told I was in the team and the second thing was what position I was playing and when he said I was on the bench I knew I had to pack my shoulder pads into the football bag because I knew I'd be doing a fair amount of tackling. You're aware the team is being named and that your name may or not be involved and while you don't sit there by the phone, when that number rings your heart skips a beat and you answer the phone with a bit of anxiousness and a little bit of anxiety in the voice. When you then hear that you're in the team it's a pretty special moment because all your childhood memories and dreams come rushing through you at one moment and it's about to become a reality.
Wendell Sailor (Debuted for Qld in 1996)
I remember the phone call I got. When I got the phone call I cried because as a kid you never think you're good enough. I was on the golf course with Allan Langer and he asked who was on the phone. For a guy like Allan Langer, it's not big news for him because he knows he's going to be selected. I got off the phone and Tony Durkin or someone had called me and said, 'How do you feel, you've just been announced in the Queensland team?' We were on the golf course – some things never change – and the phone was running hot and I was over the moon. 'Alf' congratulated me and then I called my mum and dad.
Steve Turner (Debuted for NSW in 2008)
I came into camp because 'Haynesy' (Jarryd Hayne) was placed on report the weekend before [for a dangerous throw on Tonie Carroll] and had to go to the judiciary and fight the charge. I was given the heads up over the phone by Craig Bellamy that if Hayne lost at the judiciary, I would be in. I flew up the next morning to camp in Kingscliff and the rest is history. It was massive for me. I always had dreams to play Origin and with [Bellamy] being my club coach and Origin coach it was special. It was a shortened preparation for me [once Hayne was suspended] but it was still an experience I enjoyed.
Nate Myles (Debuted for Qld in 2006)
I was down at the Caringbah pub having a couple of beers and got the call from our footy manager at the 'Dogs. I was not even 30 games into my first grade career so I certainly wasn't waiting for a phone call, I didn't think I'd be even in the realm of getting picked, but then the first phone call definitely went to Mum.
Dean Young (Debuted for NSW in 2011)
I was sitting in the lounge room at home waiting for it to come up on the news. So I found out I'd been picked for Origin off the TV.
Matt Gillett (Debuted for Qld in 2012)
I was heading to Nitro Circus with my wife Skye in Brisbane so I was pretty excited already to be going there and then I got the phone call on the way in from Anthony Griffin, coach of the Broncos at the time. I can't remember too much about Nitro Circus because I was pretty happy and was just sending all the text messages to the family and friends so I was pretty distracted. Other than having my daughter it's one of the proudest feelings I've ever had.
Corey Parker (Debuted for Qld in 2004)
I can't actually remember how I found out in '04 but when I got called up in 2011 again it was like my first time again, it was very special. I made a vow that once I got back into the Origin Series I wasn't going to let that Queensland jumper go again. It took a long time and I had to persist and stay at it but got there.