Ring the bell, stop the fight – the argument is over.
The great debate about how the current Queensland State of Origin team ranks in comparison with the great teams of 1987-89 has been settled.
This current team is now without doubt the greatest State of Origin team in history.
During this team’s run of incredible success, people have pondered over how history would judge these current Maroons.
For so long, that Queensland team of the late 1980s – that won eight games in succession on its way to three straight titles – was considered the benchmark.
It has now been surpassed.
The incredible achievement of Mal Meninga’s team in winning its seventh straight Origin series, despite all the obstacles put in their way, has put their greatness beyond doubt and they can now claim to the best Queensland team ever.
On pure statistics alone, their achievements would be hard to ignore in any claim to be Queensland’s best.
But I think using only simple statistics and scoreboards to measure their greatness is doing this team a great disservice.
The manner in which they have achieved their victories, and their incredible humility and pride in their success speak volumes about what a special team we have, and how lucky we are to enjoy watching them play.
The Maroons had every reason to be satisfied by what they had achieved in the past. But not this team.
They are not satisfied, they don’t count past achievements as good enough. They keep putting in, and they keep turning up for each other.
And every year they add to their legend as one of the greatest sporting teams this country has ever produced.
When I talk about “the team” over the past seven years, there would be a core group of 20-22 players who have played a major role in the success that Queensland has been able to enjoy.
They have been the foundation stone of Queensland’s success.
At the same time, it is important that we remember the contribution of all of the players who have worn the Maroon jersey since 2006, the year Big Mal and his players were charged with stopping the Blues from a record fourth straight series win.
When you look at a few of the names that played in that 2006 series – guys like Josh Hannay, Adam Mogg, Steve Bell, Antonio Kaufusi, Rhys Wesser, Clinton Schifcofske – it is probably easy to overlook the contribution that they have made to us being at this point in time because of the fact they only played bit parts.
But they were the ones that helped do the hard yards at the start of this magnificent run, helping turning back a NSW team at the peak of its powers.
There’s an old proverb that says the longest journey starts with a single step.
As we rightly celebrate the victory and achievements of this current Queensland team, we should not forget to toast the men who helped us get back on our feet.