NSW great's golden line that shut up Fatty Vautin

6 months ago 148

One superb quip from Steve Mortimer said it all.

New South Wales had conscionable clinched the State of Origin shield for the archetypal time, halting the dominance of Queensland aft 4 years of pain.

The breakthrough came connected the nighttime of Tuesday, June 11, 1985, erstwhile the Blues trumped the Maroons 21-14 successful beforehand of a 39,068-strong assemblage astatine the Sydney Cricket Ground.

"Turvey," said Queensland guardant Paul Vautin to Mortimer.

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"You conscionable did a Queensland connected Queensland."

The Blues' halfback and skipper fired backmost the cleanable reply.

"Piss off, Fatty," Mortimer said.

"We did a NSW connected Queensland."

Steve Mortimer, arsenic New South Wales' halfback and captain, led the Blues to their archetypal State of Origin bid triumph successful crippled 2 of the 1985 bid astatine the Sydney Cricket Ground. (Fairfax)

NSW's archetypal Origin bid triumph is relived successful a terrific publication released successful November: If These Walls Could Talk: A Celebration of the Sydney Cricket Ground, written by Sydney Morning Herald main sports writer Andrew Webster.

As the section connected the Blues' bid triumph explains, NSW had dominated implicit the archetypal 71 years of the interstate rivalry, spanning 1908 to 1979.

But the Origin epoch began with Queensland winning one-off games successful 1980 and 1981, earlier downing NSW successful each 3 bid betwixt 1982 and 1984.

The Blues' genuine hatred for the Maroons implicit the archetypal 4 years of the Origin epoch was undeniable.

Paul Vautin successful enactment for Queensland during crippled 2 of the 1985 State of Origin bid astatine the Sydney Cricket Ground. (Fairfax)

It blew retired of power connected the 2nd tackle of crippled 2 of the 1984 series, erstwhile 1 of the astir infamous all-in brawls successful Origin past was sparked by a Steve Roach punch.

The Balmain front-rower was 1 of 4 men progressive successful a tackle connected Queensland centre Gene Miles – but alternatively of wrapping his arms, helium unloaded a barrage of uppercuts.

Referee Barry Gomersall, much commonly known arsenic 'The Grasshopper', had nary anticipation of stopping the fight, arsenic players wrestled and threw punches astatine anyone wearing a rival jumper successful a chaotic brawl that lasted much than 2 minutes.

But contempt the hatred that lingered betwixt the sides passim the opening 4 years of the Origin era, a 2-1 decision was the champion bid effect NSW could muster.

Steve Mortimer pictured successful the opening crippled of the 1985 State of Origin series, which New South Wales won 18-2 astatine Lang Park. (Peter Morris)

Legendary five-eighth Wally Lewis, present an Immortal, was the driving unit down Queensland's dominance.

The Mortimer-inspired Blues stopped the rot erstwhile they backed up an 18-2 triumph astatine Lang Park with the 21-14 triumph astatine the SCG to unafraid the shield successful 1985.

When Vautin threw his jibe astatine Mortimer moments aft the full-time siren sounded astatine the SCG, the signifier was acceptable for the astir relieved antheral successful NSW to level him with his comeback.

"Not galore radical negociate that – to enactment Paul Vautin backmost successful his container with a one-liner – but that was beauteous astute from Turvey," Webster says successful an interrogation with Wide World of Sports.

"There was merit successful what Fatty said, due to the fact that Queensland had taken Origin truthful earnestly since its conception and NSW had conscionable ne'er rather got there.

"I've heard (rugby league icon) Phil Gould speech astir it successful the past – that Queensland person ever 'got' Origin amended than NSW have.

"Well, the archetypal idiosyncratic that truly 'got it' for NSW was Steve Mortimer.

"In that chapter, I emotion the representation from earlier the archetypal crippled … erstwhile they're going down Caxton Street (in Brisbane) and the Queensland fans are starting to stone the autobus and (NSW hooker) Benny Elias is sitting astatine the backmost of the bus. He'd ne'er played Origin before, looking out, looking astatine the Caxton Hotel, seeing these Queenslanders frothing astatine the rima and throwing cans of XXXX astatine the autobus and Turvey conscionable saying, 'See that? They hatred us. Make definite we springiness it backmost to them successful spades erstwhile we get connected the field'.

"That's wherever the existent Origin contention was borne – successful those matches successful the mid-80s."

Mortimer made his NSW debut successful 1977 and played his archetypal Origin crippled successful the opening lucifer of the 1982 series.

He was a subordinate of each 1 of the losing Blues squads betwixt 1982 and 1984 and was besides repeatedly shunted passim the archetypal 4 years of the Origin era, for either Newtown prima Tommy Raudonokis oregon Parramatta weapon Peter Sterling.

Steve Mortimer (left) and Peter Sterling battled for NSW's No.7 jumper passim the aboriginal to mid-1980s. (Fairfax)

"It was a clip erstwhile NSW drew a enactment successful the sand, finally," Webster says of the 1985 series.

"And the idiosyncratic who drew the enactment successful the soil was Steve Mortimer – the skipper and the halfback, who'd suffered arsenic galore losses arsenic immoderate NSW subordinate since Origin had archetypal happened successful 1980."

Mortimer was chaired from the SCG turf by his teammates aft the 1985 bid win, hands successful the aerial arsenic helium shouted to the heavens.

He past announced his status from typical shot successful the sheds, having conquered the pinnacle.

Des Hasler made his Origin debut successful crippled 3 and the Blues mislaid 20-6 astatine Lang Park.

But those are insignificant details.

Steve Mortimer collapses to his knees astatine the Sydney Cricket Ground aft lifting New South Wales to their archetypal State of Origin bid triumph successful 1985. (Nine)

Mortimer had steered NSW to their archetypal bid triumph and retired a winner.

"There's that iconic representation of him dropping to his knees and crying successful the mediate of the Sydney Cricket Ground. I've interviewed Turvey galore times and peculiarly astir this infinitesimal successful time, for some the Herald and this book. And I said, 'Why? What was the overriding feeling?'. And helium said, 'Relief'. He's precise religious, Turvey. And I said, 'What were you doing?'. And helium said, 'I was conscionable thanking God'.

"And that's however overmuch it meant to him."

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