CREDITED with scoring Queensland’s “miracle” try in 1994, Mark Coyne likes to sit back and marvel at the Maroons’ modern-day miracle worker, Johnathan Thurston.
Throughout Queensland’s amazing 10 series wins in the past 11 years, five-eighth and future Immortal Thurston has continually stood up in the clutch moments late in games.
Could any Queensland supporter forget his “show and go” to put Billy Slater over to seal the 2008 decider?
Well, the forgetful got a reminder of his brilliance in Game II in Brisbane last month when Thurston set upQueensland’s last two tries in its 26-16 win, the last coming from a sublime short pass to Darius Boyd, who put winger Corey Oates over the line.
The premiership-winning Cowboys co-captain will play a record 36th consecutive Origin in Game III at ANZ Stadium tonight.
“He (Thurston) is one of the greatest players I’ve ever seen. He’s incredible, not just for his kicking,” Coyne told Australian Regional Media.
“His competitiveness is quite unbelievable and he’s a freak.
“He’s been around for a while, he’s very experienced and he knows when to come up with those big plays.”
Coyne’s try in Game I of the 1994 series, with the Maroons down 12-10 in the 79th minute, is seen by many Queenslanders as the best Origin moment ever
“That’s not a try, that’s a miracle,” bellowed the great Ray Warren in a signature call.
That was after Coyne burrowed under the last-ditch tackles of Brad Fittler and Ricky Stuart to finish off a desperate nine-pass 60m movement to give Queensland a 16-12 win.
But Coyne can relate to the pain all New South Wales fans and players are feeling from the past 11 years.
Coyne played in seven series with the Maroons, but tasted series success only once – in 1995 with Paul “Fatty” Vautin’s “Neville Nobodies”.
“We didn’t have a run as bad as what the Blues have had, back in the 1990s, but I didn’t win a lot of series and it hurts a lot,” Coyne said.
“You feel like you’ve let your state down.
“Fortunately, Queensland has had a lot to cheer about over the past 11 years.”
Coyne still often gets stopped to talk about his incredible 1994 try, but the thing that pleases him most is that it typified Queensland’s never-say-die spirit, which is stronger than ever today.
“Probably once a week, I reckon. I get asked about it a lot,” he said.
“It was just a great team movement. I was lucky enough to be the one to finish it off. It’s gone down as an iconic moment in Origin history and it’s part of the Queensland never-give-up spirit.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.