Maroon ready to write new verse in Queenslander poem
ANOTHER chapter in the Queenslander saga will be written at ANZ Stadium tonight, and Sarina's Neil Campion will be ready for the next stanza of his epic poem.
Campion is a born and bred Cane Toad supporter, and over more than a decade has written his "Queenslander" poem in tribute to the Maroons and the many Mackay players who have played their part in rugby league's fiercest battle.
"In 2001 I started it and it's gone on virtually year by year from then," he said.
"We've won eight series in a row now since 2006, and we'll be up against it (tonight) with all the injuries we've had.
"It will be a big ask, especially in Sydney where the crowd will be all for the Blues.
"NSW have lost eight in a row so they will stop at nothing to win this one; they will step up.
"But you can never write off the old Queenslander spirit."
Campion's Queenslander saga immortalises some of Origin's biggest names, including many of the Mackay players who have played their part including Martin Bella, Dale Shearer, Wendell Sailor, Brett Dallas and Neil's brother, Kevin Campion, who played in the 2001 series.
There's even a mention for the "Grasshopper", Mackay referee Barry Gomersall who infuriated NSW fans by ignoring brawls and letting the play flow.
Whatever the result, Campion knows he will be watching another piece of Origin history unfold tonight, and another line in his epic.
By Neil Campion
It started in '80 with a man called Arthur,
The critics met it with roars of laughter.
Lewis and Meninga put an end to that,
With Choppy and Boustead, they knocked
The Cockies flat.
Reddy and Lang, the battle scarred men,
Made sure of a win, twenty to ten
In '81 King Wally was born,
To the Cockies' dismay, hatred and scorn.
But all seemed lost at fifteen points down,
Until Choppy whacked Guru, his face hit the ground.
Then right on fulltime, a penalty try,
We've won again, 'Queenslander' the cry.
In '82 three matches at last,
And Qld came in with a formidable cast.
Vautin and Miles made their debuts,
Just the right blend for smashing the Blues.
The decider in Sydneyhad its fair share of thrills,
But the Maroons won again with help from the two Phils.
In '83 with the Maroons fans delirious,
People, south of the border, said 'It's time to get serious'.
In came Junior to topple our lot,
But at series end, it's a fact, he did not.
The third game a thrashing, not even a test,
The papers are screaming, 'Qld's the best'.
Dowling and Lindner in '84,
Now it's not just a game, it's become bloody war.
The Blues fans are crying, why they're practically sick,
With the series won off a freak Lewis kick.
Now they're asking themselves, the men in blue,
'Will we ever match Niebling, Scotty or Turtle Conescue'.
Langer came out inn 1987,
Origin's the game now played in heaven.
With the series locked at one game all,
It was time to grow another foot tall.
We've won again, the game a heart stopper,
But guess what, the Blues fans are blaming the bloody 'Grasshopper'.
It's '88 and now they'll match our pack,
'Cause lo and behold, bit Roachy is back.
But at series end, we flogged 'em three nil,
Bella and Backo went in for the kill.
Blues fans said 'It's something we lack',
'I know' they said 'Let's bring in Big Jack'.
In '89, Big Jack came in with his clipboard and glasses,
But the result stayed the same, gee we kicked their arses.
In the pack, journeymen Bella and Backo,
Paved the way for the speedsters, Shearer and Jacko.
Okay, it had to come, it's the end of an era,
The Blues won't admit it, but we were bloody superior.
In '91 our chanes looked thin,
Without Badge, Fatto or Geno, we can't possibly win.
But we proved 'em wrong, again at Lang Park,
The second game in Sydney, a taste of big Mark.
The third game at the Cauldron was Wally's last fling,
We've beat 'em again, 'Long live the King'.
It's '95 and the game's in despair,
Without the rebels our cupboard is bare.
'Dream on you Cane Toads' once said John Raper,
But Chook, as you know, these games are not won on paper.
In the 80s, it was Mal, Geno and Wally the King,
But now they talk of Fatty's boys - Gilly, Billy Moore and Matty Sing.
In '98, Alfie and Kevvie came back,
In the third game decider, the Blues couldn't handle our pack.
Wayne Bennett, the genius, orchestrated the win,
With a new breed of hero, Sailor and Ikin.
Goodbye Gary Larson, you tackling machine,
You soldier, you warhorse, you coach's dream.
In '99, a field goal won us the first,
And for the rest of the series, the Blues were bloody well cursed.
A tie in the decider meant nothing to fear,
We keep the shield, 'cause we won it last year.
In 2001, Choppy and Bennett agreed,
With big Gordy gone, there's something we need
'Cause the Blues looked the goods after their Sydney mayhem
So they flew Alfie home and he robbed 'em again,
Now along with the Lockyers, Webckes and Campions,
The fans will agree that 'Queensland are still champions'.
Things changed quickly in 2002 when game one ended in slaughter,
Joey had returned to lead his men and he blew us out of the water
But thanks to Alfie and a runaway Carlaw,
The series was saved by another draw.
The Blues then claimed the next three series and things weren't looking great,
But in 2006 a dynasty began and so far our best has been eight!