State of Origin: The top five Brisbane moments
From the moment Big Artie stormed out of the sheds at Lang Park in 1980, Brisbane was guaranteed its mantle as the spiritual home of Origin. When Suncorp Stadium is bursting with a big crowd baying for Blue blood, there's no cauldron like it.
5.Queensland adopt a brave Kiwi. Game 3, 1991
When Graham Lowe defied ill-health to help the Maroons beat the mob from across the border, he earned a special place in Queensland folklore. The first "outsider" to coach the Maroons, Lowe was rushed to intensive care with a deep vein thrombosis in the lead-up to decider at Lang Park and was so ill it seemed he had no hope of being at the match. Lowe was in the middle of several major health crises – he also suffered a brain haemorrhage and two strokes around the same time. A phone call to the hospital from Wally Lewis and his fellow players lifted Lowe's spirits and he courageously made it to the Cauldron to see his boys wrap up the series with a 14-12 win.
4.The Cauldron erupts as The King is binned. Game 2, 1988
Not only did referee Mick Stone have the courage to send Wally Lewis to the sin bin in front of The King's loyal Lang Park subjects, he then had to have the courage to withstand a barrage of beer cans hurled onto the field by enraged Maroons fans. Back in the days when you could still get beer in a can at the footy, a torrent of tinnies were launched in retribution for Lewis being marched for dissent midway through the second half. The angry mob also screamed "Send Stone off" as Lang Park went into total meltdown. Luckily for Stone the Maroons won 16-6, ensuring he could make it out of The Cauldron alive.
3.Thanks for the memories, Locky. Game 3, 2011
The Last Stand for one of Queensland's finest was an emotional night for so many reasons. After 36 Origins, 22 of those as captain, the great Darren Lockyer took his final bow with a 34-24 win which secured the Maroons a sixth consecutive series win. "I guess I felt pretty relieved towards the end of the game there that I'm going to get the win. I couldn't ask for anything more," Lockyer would later admit. With the Suncorp Stadium crowd at fever pitch at fulltime, the sight of Johnathan Thurston coming on to the field in a wheelchair to share in the celebrations tipped them over the edge. Thurston had suffered a serious knee injury but was so desperate to be out on the field to farewell Locky that he had team doctor Roy Saunders wheel him out to join his mates. Swansongs don't come much sweeter.
2.The little master returns. Game 3, 2001
Allan Langer had called time on his decorated career in Australia and was enjoying the slower pace of Super League with Warrington in 2001 when his old mate Wayne Bennett conjured a plan to bring Alf back for one last hurrah. With the series tied 1-1 and regular halfback Paul Green injured, the super coach put in an SOS to 34-year-old Langer on the other side of the world. Bennett phoned Langer for one of their regular chats and asked "how would you like to come back for the third game?" and Alf cheekily replied, "what took you so long to ask?" In front of an adoring home crowd, Langer orchestrated a memorable Maroons win and bagged a try, much to the delight of his young team-mates and his wily coach.
1.The birth of a legend. Game 1, 1980
It is almost four decades since Arthur Beetson charged on to Lang Park with the support of an entire state driving him on to finally get one over on 'big brother' from down south. Tired of being hammered in interstate clashes teams full of former Queenslander's who headed to Sydney to make their name, the Maroons embraced the Origin concept from night one. The date - July 8, 1980 - will be etched in footy folkore forever as the night State of Origin was born and the night Queensland rose up and said "no more". The images of 35-year-old Beetson leading Meninga, Close, Lewis, Lang, Reddy and company on to Lang Park still send shivers down the spine. The big bloke was all business and he was ready to take on all comers.
Origin at Suncorp, there's nothing like it! Game III tickets available here