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Billy Moore, Danny Moore and Brett Dallas.

As part of a series looking back at four decades of State of Origin football, revisits the 1995 series which featured Queensland achieving arguably the greatest upset in the history of the concept.

If you think Queensland's shock win in the 2020 State of Origin series was something, you mustn't have been around in 1995.

A Maroons team ravaged by Super League was forced to look here, there and everywhere to assemble what they hoped would be a competitive team.

They were known as Fatty's "Nevilles", a name they made their own.

They were more than just competitive. They upset a star-studded NSW team, with their series-clinching win at the MCG still considered one of Origin's greatest nights.

This was the series where Danny Moore, Tony Hearn and Terry Cook stared down Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler and Paul Harragon and scored a 3-0 series win.

Game One, Maroons 2 bt Blues 0 at Sydney Football Stadium

To this day it remains the only Origin match where no tries were scored. Wayne Bartrim's first-half penalty goal proved all the Maroons needed.

That, and a truckload of grit and determination.

NSW twice crossed the Queensland line but Rod Wishart put a foot over the touch line and Terry Hill was held up.

Oh yes, there was another thing from this night. That's the vision of an enraged Billy Moore yelling "QUEENSLANDER" as his team headed onto the field.

It worked a treat.

Full Match Replay: Blues v Maroons - Game 1, 1995

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Ahead of game two, the Blues made a total of eight changes, be they personnel or positional. 

All Queensland did was bring Jason Smith into the team as five-eighth for the injured Dale Shearer. That proved a prudent move.

Game Two, Maroons 20 bt Blues 12 at the MCG

Jason Smith, who was a Kangaroos tourist in 1994 and had been involved in plenty of turmoil earlier in 1995 when he left the Super League's Bulldogs to join the ARL's Eels, came in and duly won man of the match as Queensland wrapped up the series.

In a match in which there was no shortage of fighting, Smith and his mates added enough of the right type of aggression to get the job done.

Queensland had looked home but a Jim Serdaris try reduced the margin to 14-12 five minutes remaining.

Tim Brasher then also touched down, only to have the try pulled back for a forward pass.

Full Match Replay: Blues v Maroons - Game 2, 1995

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The pain of that incident was soon added to when flying Maroons winger Brett Dallas ran 90 metres to score with time expiring.

The series was decided but this Queensland team was insistent on completing a clean sweep before their adoring fans.

Game Three, Maroons 24 bt Blues 16 at Suncorp Stadium

Ben Ikin – at the time the youngest player in Origin history – scored a match-sealing try to complete the most unlikely clean sweep the concept has seen.

The Blues led at two separate stages of this match but were again unable to get the job done.

The fact Queensland had to make just one change to their team across the series (Smith for Dale Shearer ahead of game two) proved a huge help.

Full Match Replay: Maroons v Blues - Game 3, 1995

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The Maroons were lucky to have played the final 50 minutes with 13 men on the field after Tony Hearn appeared to head-butt Blues prop Mark Carroll.

Hearn stayed on the field but was later handed an eight-week ban. That cost him a chance of playing for Australia.

Play of the series

The crucial moment was the decision by referee Eddie Ward to rule a forward pass and disallow a try to NSW fullback Tim Brasher from a Brad Fittler pass in the final minutes of Game Two.

The Blues were devastated and NSW coach Phil Gould had already shaken hands with Vautin before Brett Dallas ran 90 metres from dummy half to wrap things up.

All he had to do was take the tackle to secure the game, and the series, but for him to cap a memorable night for those north of the Tweed River in such fashion was the pièce de résistance.

Maroons royalty Wally Lewis, Paul Vautin and Chris Close.
Maroons royalty Wally Lewis, Paul Vautin and Chris Close. ©NRL Photos

Best player

Adrian Lam was awarded man of the match in Game Three and his output in the first two matches was also of the highest order.

The Papua New Guinea international enjoyed a superb career. On top of playing 14 matches for the Maroons between 1995 and 2000, he made 11 Test appearances for the Kumuls and 265 club games for the Sydney Roosters and Wigan Warriors.

The quote

In a 2014 Courier-Mail article, Trevor Gillmeister recalls a chat with Paul Vautin that resulted in him leaving hospital and playing in Game Three.

Paul Vautin with emotion in his voice told Gillmeister: "If I was you, I think I would play. How many times do you get to captain Queensland and win a series?"

Gillmeister replies: "Why didn't you say that two bloody hours ago?"

The conversation was followed by Gillmeister pulling the drip from his arm and leaving hospital.

Mark Coyne, Billy Moore and the Origin shield.
Mark Coyne, Billy Moore and the Origin shield. ©NRL Photos

Unsung hero

Few typify the legendary Queensland spirit better than Billy Moore. He was never confused with the likes of Fittler and co when it came to attacking flair, but Moore provided everything you could ever want from a teammate. 

In this series he and a handful of others served as more than just strong players, they ensured the spirit that was going to be needed to win the series never waned.

The following year

NSW got some revenge with a 3-0 series win of their own. The return of the likes of Allan Langer, Wendell Sailor and Steve Renouf wasn't enough to get the Maroons over the line again.

Andrew Johns was the series' top point scorer while prolific finisher Brett Mullins finished as the leading try scorer.

NSW also won the 1997 series to make it five triumphs in six years.


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