QUEENSLAND selector Gene Miles has hailed Nate Myles as the ultimate State of Origin forward, after the 32-game Maroon veteran announced he was walking away from rugby league.
After a long career across five clubs – Canterbury, the Roosters, Gold Coast, Manly and Melbourne – Myles quietly slipped into retirement in November.
The announcement was a reflection of the way he played the game – no fuss and just getting the job done.
Miles, the Executive Chairman of FOGS, said Nate was one of the cornerstones of Queensland’s “decade of dominance” going back to 2006.
“It is probably bordering on cliché, but Nate was everything that you wanted in an Origin forward,” Miles said.
“If you asked the guys that he played with over more than a decade, they would want him in the team every time.
“He pushed himself to the limits, the places where the experts say you should never go. But Nate did that every time he played for Queensland.
“I saw someone say the other day that in the 32 games he played for Queensland, he would have been the players’ player or very close to it in just about all of them.
“I think that would be absolutely true. He brought so much to the team every time he played.”
Miles said it was one of the toughest days he has faced as a Queensland selector having to draw the curtain on the Origin careers of Myles and a number of experienced Maroons after the disaster in the first game of this year’s Origin series.
“Nate was struggling just to get to Game I because of the injuries he was battling with at Manly,” he said. “But Nate was convinced he could get himself up for the job.
“Unfortunately the night didn’t play out the way we wanted to, and Nate was a part of that changing of the guard.
“It really was the end of an era with Nate and a few other guys moving on. They were well aware if we didn’t win Game I that people would have been looking to lay the blame at the feet of the older guys.
“But all of those guys deserved to be picked for that first game because of the loyalty they had earned and what they had produced for Queensland in the past.”
The enduring image of Myles’ Origin career came in 2013, when Blues captain Paul Gallen ruthlessly threw three of his best punches into the Queenslander’s chin.
Myles was immovable as an Easter Island statue and took the punishment, rather than retaliating and risk leaving his teammates short, then just played on as if nothing had happened.
“Nate didn’t even get knocked off his feet. He just took the whacks and continued on. It typified his whole career really,” Miles said.
“Nate didn’t go out with any press conference or parade around a ground to say goodbye. It was so typical of the guy.
“He just made up his mind out of the spotlight, told the people who needed to know and got on with things. There was no song and dance or farewell tour.
“Nate never made it about himself. He always saw himself as just a part of the bigger picture.
“But just because he is so humble doesn’t mean that the job he did for Queensland and the role he played in more than 10 years of success for the Maroons should ever be underestimated.
“Nate was a recipient of the FOGS Dick ‘Tosser’ Turner Medal (20 games), and also a recipient of the FOGS Statesman Award (30 games) which puts him among the very best to have ever played Origin for Queensland.
“He will be remembered for the great service he gave to Queensland for many years to come.”