YOU can learn a lot from what has happened in the past – both the successes and the mistakes.
Having knowledge about the past helps you understand what you are about, and why we do the things that we do.
Origin is such a special and unique time. You need to understand what has happened in the past to give you that little extra edge.
The past is a big part of what makes us Queenslanders.
There were decades were Queensland was routinely hammered by NSW.
There were games – and the 2000 series is one that immediately springs to mind – where Queensland was not only beaten but humiliated by a ruthless opposition.
Yes, we are currently enjoying a terrific run of success.
To win seven series in a row, and be in a position to win an eighth is an incredible achievement.
These are good times, no question, and they deserve to be celebrated.
But does modern day celebration mean the hard times of the past should just be forgotten, and consigned to the history books as the struggle of a different era? Far from it.
Those struggles – and the seemingly fruitless efforts of the men who tried their best to stand against the tsunami of success that NSW rode upon for much of the previous 100 years – are the foundation stones of the current team’s success.
At the start of this year’s Origin campaign, we honoured the Queensland team of 1959 – the last to win an interstate series before the introduction of Origin in 1980.
Think about that for a minute. Prior to Origin, Queensland’s last series win was in the 1950s.
In 1959, mankind was still 10 years away from stepping on the moon.
It was the year Dally Messenger died, and future Maroons Wally Lewis, Gene Miles, Paul Vautin and Kerry Boustead were born.
For the entirety of the 1960s and 1970s, Queenslanders would not get to experience a series win against NSW.
That’s 20 years of turning up with hope, and leaving with nothing. It puts seven series wins in a row into some perspective.
Those decades of hardship in the furnace of interstate football forged the legendary Queensland spirit, enriching the fabric of each Maroon jersey with the values of never giving up, never letting down your mates and never forgetting where you came from that we carry with us today.
All Queenslanders share this passion, because it is a part of who we are.
And it is why the desire to succeed and to do the state proud still burns within each player honoured to wear Maroon and to represent the people of Queensland.
It is a fire that burns within every Queensland player after seven series wins, just as fiercely as it did in 2006 when we were staring at our fourth series defeat in a row.
It is why, when Arthur Beetson came home to lead the Maroons to that incredible win in 1980 to ignite State of Origin, the joy and emotion from the people of Queensland was genuine and tangible.
The newspaper headlines the next day read “The night we beat the Blues”.
It was the cause of celebration and, given its context in our history, a significant milestone and turning point.
It is a night that has never been forgotten, and a reminder of why the preceding 70-years of tough times – and the men who gave their all to the Queensland cause – must always be remembered.
This is a responsibility the current Queensland team takes very seriously. While proud of their success, they are prouder still that their achievements help to pay tribute to all of those that wore the jersey before them.
Internally, we never use the word “dynasty” – although we know it is a popular turn of phrase to describe a team that has been fortunate enough to savour such success.
Instead, our focus remains on our “legacy” – what we will leave behind for future generations, and how we will be remembered for the efforts we made, the values we upheld and the standards we achieved.
We may not always win. But we will always respect the heritage of our jersey and what it stands for by doing our best, never giving up, never letting down our mates and never forgetting where we came from.
That is what remains at the heart of what we do – staying true to ourselves, honouring our history, building for our future, and making Queensland proud.