Published by Best Legenz, May 2003, $24.95
Twenty-three years, twenty-two legends of league, eleven maroon, eleven blue. Interviews, stories, insights, and histories of some of the greatest heroes of that pinnacle of interstate competition: State of Origin Rugby League.
The most magic moments are brilliantly recounted in match reports on every State of Origin game since 1980, illuminated by interviews with the players on the spot.
From the first actual Origin match when big Artie Beetson charged onto Lang Park in a Maroon jersey something amazing happened in the world of league.
Chris Close was there for Queensland: 'It was violent, courageous; it was just fantastic. All that emotion just started to flow at the end of the game and you looked at the other guys and there's tears rolling down their cheeks.'
Steve Mortimer put the fire into the Blues and welded them into a hot-blooded respondent to the Queensland spirit: 'I'd been there for awhile and they could see how much I wanted to win, how proud I was to play for NSW and how I wanted us to be close to each other.' To achieve this, players had to be totally honest with each other.
The featured players are a roll call of some of the most inspiring names in the last 20 years of the game: Trent Barrett, Mark Coyne, Andrew Johns, Wally Lewis, Laurie Daley, Allan Langer, Mick Cronin, Mal Meninga, Peter Sterling, Gene Miles, Brett Kenny, Gorden Tallis, Tommy Raudonikis, Greg Dowling, Paul Harragon, Bob Lindner, Brad Fittler, Arthur Beetson, Steve Mortimer, Bryan Fletcher, Chris Close, and Steven Price, the golden greats and the young titans, all gods of the grounds.
Each tells of his beginnings in football, earliest reminiscences and best-savoured moments. And the grounds themselves—Lang Park and the Sydney Football Stadium—were cauldrons of passion that seethe in the memories of countless fans who can relive every game they saw there —memories superbly revived and retold in STATE OF ORIGIN: GODS OF THE GROUNDS.
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