RUGBY league greats, Tommy Raudonikis and Arthur Beetson, visited the Whitsunday PCYC last Friday night to celebrate 30 years of State of Origin in the Birth of Origin show.
Raudonikis and Beetson were the original 1980 State of Origin captains and entertained the people of the Whitsundays with countless stories from a bygone era.
“When I arrived at the airport my team was all drunk,” Raudonikis said, referring to the day before the Blues 1980 Origin clash with the Maroons.
“But there was a real eerie feeling about, so I sat my team down and said ‘Guys something extra-ordinary is going to happen tonight'.”
“I ran out to the biggest boo I've ever heard, it was like thunder and he (Arthur) had smoke coming out of his ears.
“And that was the start of Origin footy.”
A poor turn-out for the event didn't affect the two league legends who have grown to become the best of mates since playing their first match together in 1972.
“We're real good mates,” Raudonikis said.
“I played a lot of games against him and with him and Arthur's a lot of fun to be around.
“We really enjoy it.”
Beetson also enjoys travelling the country to tell people footy yarns from yesteryear.
“A lot of people love to hear the stories of how the game used to be,” Beetson said.
“It's great that here's Tommy and I, and I'm still going around telling people about the game.
“It was a different game back then.”
The two men also shared their feelings on more pressing issues affecting the game, including Queensland's current five-series Origin reign.
“I hate to agree that Queensland were the better side but I think if New South Wales stick to the same combinations and go into next year with the same squad, maybe we'll get up then,” Raudonikis said.
“As long as State of Origin keeps its toughness and hatred between states, then there is a future for Origin footy.”
Beetson said it was great to see Queensland win but he believed AFL-bound winger Israel Folau should not have been allowed to play.
“I don't think the QRL (Queensland Rugby League) showed any leadership and it takes a lot away from it,” he said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.