Isn’t it funny how six years ago can seem like ancient history? With Mal Meninga and his Maroons wrapping up a fifth successive State of Origin series win in July to continue Queensland’s greatest dynasty, it is easy to forget that six years ago, the Maroons were in one of our darkest hours.
Having suffered a third consecutive series loss to NSW, we were in the gutter, staring at an unprecedented fourth series loss in a row if something drastic didn’t happen.
It was a very well kept secret for a long time that, at the end of that losing 2005 series, Wayne Bennett recommended Craig Bellamy be the next Queensland coach to the QRL.
I am sure a lot of people will probably deny it, but that is the way they were heading, right up until Tosser Turner stepped in and said “that’s not gonna happen”.
Tosser told them that a NSW coach would never be in charge of Queensland, and was prepared to put the FOGS sponsorship money funding the QRL’s lower grades where his mouth was.
Tosser has to take a lot of the credit for the success we are now enjoying for making a stand when it was needed the most.
Mal’s name was put up, he was accepted, and the rest is history.
THE FOGS organisation has worked hard to develop and grow our profile in Queensland and in rugby league, but our recent run of headlines sadly was for all the wrong reasons.
You probably read over the past few weeks about speculation that FOGS would be stumping up between $150,000 and $250,000 (depending on which paper you read) to help the Broncos sign Greg Inglis.
Let me set the record straight once and for all right here: this is absolutely rubbish.
What we were looking at was, first and foremost, keeping Greg in the code.
The FOGS believed that keeping Greg in rugby league was a priority, so we put forward a proposal where Greg would be paid to do ambassadorial work for us and our programs as an incentive to stay in the NRL.
That offer was available for Greg regardless of which NRL club he chose to play for.
Secondly, the figure involved was somewhere around the $25,000-$30,000 mark, and was not coming out of any government funding at all.
And let me make it clear, our offer was no free cash grab for Greg. As an ambassador, he would be expected to work for that money that we give him, the same way all of our ambassadors do with appearances for the programs or sponsors.
That is the story. As you can see, it is a long way short of “FOGS to top-up Inglis Broncos contract by $200,000”. But that is the truth.
WE should also acknowledge that the FOGS family has grown once again, with the additions of members 168, 169 and 170. Cooper Cronk, David Taylor and Matt Ballin all made their debuts for Queensland during this year’s Origin series, and now have their own FOGS membership numbers to go along with it.
While we sincerely hope that the “Former” part of being a Former Origin Great remains a great distance down the road for these three guys, we would like to welcome them aboard as new members of our very special little family.