State of Origin stalwarts, Chris Close, Colin Scott and Dave Brown were axed from the Queensland side to play New South Wales in the second match of the 1986 series.
And dropped from the starting side, following the 22-16 loss to the Blues in Game 1, was lock, Bob Lindner.
Into the squad came Bundaberg flyer, Les kiss; Canberra star, Gary Belcher (both making their debuts); Darryl Brohman and Ian French.
Scott’s omission was rated, in some quarters, the most controversial, given his outstanding form for Wynnum-Manly and the fact he took a severe head knock just eight minutes into Origin 1.
Wynnum president, David Green said Scott half expected to be axed, given the rave reviews for Belcher’s form in Canberra. Belcher had been coached at Brisbane Souths by 1986 Qld coach, Wayne Bennett.
“I am deeply disappointed for ‘Scotty’,” said Green.
Scott said it looked as if he would have to move to Sydney to regain his Origin spot.
“The selectors seem to take more notice of A graders in Sydney than their Brisbane counterparts,” he said. “If you play A grade in Sydney it’s the ultimate, but if you play in Brisbane they (the Sydney media) take no notice.
“Gary (Belcher) has no more to offer than I do. I don’t think he has changed his play since going down there. And his defence has always been a bit suspect. He seems to be playing well, but he won’t get the same chances playing Origin. But I wish him well.”
After a solid season with Valleys in 1985, Kiss produced spectacular form for North Sydney early in ’86. He had played three seasons with Wide Bay in the state league before moving to Valleys.
The round of Brisbane club football prior to the naming of the Origin side, featured the send-off of fiery Souths’ halfback, Wayne Cullen just before half time in the Magpies’ 42-6 loss to Valleys at Lang Park. Cullen was charged with a late, high shot on centre, Brett Tengdahl, and also with using abusive language to referee, Eddie Ward. Cullen was later banned for six weeks.
Under new coach, Graeme Atherton, premiers Souths were struggling with a high injury toll, the last thing they needed after Belcher and Mal Meninga joined Canberra in the off-season; veteran forward, Chris Phelan retired and John Elias returned to Sydney.
“We have hit rock bottom,” said Atherton, a former Queensland five eighth. “Our first up tackling was disgraceful.”
Brothers’ coach, Ross Strudwick talked up Bundaberg product, Tony Rea as heir apparent to Queensland hooker, Greg Conescu after Rea’s impressive display in the 36-2 thrashing of Norths at Bishop Park. As well as setting up a try for winger, Jeff Burns with a perfectly judged ‘bomb’, Rea landed six goals from as many shots, to take his tally to 11 from 12 in two games.
Brothers’ fullback, Joe Kilroy, who was married 24 hours earlier, scored a spectacular try.
Norths’ coach, Greg Oliphant said the Devils showed little pride in the jersey in front of a big home crowd.
At Langlands Park, Easts beat Redcliffe 22-14, with Easts’ coach, Wayne Lindenberg suggesting that Cavill Heugh was the ball playing forward Queensland lacked in Origin 1.
In the other match, Wynnum lock, Ian French scored two tries in the Seagulls’ 34-18 win over Ipswich at North Ipswich Reserve in front of a crowd of 7,000.
It was a spiteful affair, with Ipswich lock, Cliff Sinn (a product of Ipswich’s West End club) sent to the bin for a late shot on Wynnum halfback, Peter Dawes.
Wynnum skipper, Wally Lewis left the field three minutes from fulltime with a badly bruised hand. As he was about to enter the dressing rooms he was involved in a scuffle with several spectators, after he had allegedly been spat at and abused.
The incident made front page news in ‘The Courier-Mail’, with QRL president, Ron McAuliffe suggesting a player race should be built at the Reserve.
I was working for the ‘Telegraph’ at the time and interviewed Ipswich coach, Tom Raudonikis. Tom said it would be ridiculous to build a race for one player, as there has not been any other similar incidents. He suggested that when Lewis played at the ground, he should be wheeled onto the field in a cage.
‘PUT WALLY IN A CAGE’ was the headline in the ‘Telegraph’. Wally didn’t see the humour in it.
Ipswich’s star was diminutive teenage halfback, Allan Langer who set up a try for five eighth, Pat Shepherdson with a high kick, and fed his backs with superb long passes.
Teenage twins, Kevin and Kerrod Walters played the second half, with hooker, Kerrod scoring a try.
Flashy Ipswich winger, Gordon Langton was awarded a penalty try by referee, David Manson after he was held back by Lewis after he toed a loose ball.
“If he could have got to that ball, he should be in the Olympics,” said Lewis.
In all seriousness, Langton was probably fast enough to qualify for the Australian athletics squad.
Now a community engagement officer for Urban Indigenous Health, Langton features in ‘Deadly Choices’ television ads with Broncos’ star, Sam Thaiday. Gordon has beefed up considerably since his Jets’ days.
TEAMS FOR ORIGIN II, 1986.
NEW SOUTH WALES: Garry Jack; Brian Hetherington, Chris Mortimer, Michael O’Connor, Andrew Farrar; Brett Kenny, Peter Sterling; Wayne Pearce (c), Noel Cleal, Steve Folkes, Steve Roach, Royce Simmons, Peter Tunks. Replacements, Terry Lamb (not used), David Gillespie. Coach, Ron Willey.
QUEENSLAND: Gary Belcher; Dale Shearer, Gene Miles, Mal Meninga, Les Kiss; Wally Lewis (c), Mark Murray; Ian French, Gavin Jones, Bob Lindner, Darryl Brohman, Greg Conescu, Cavill Heugh. Replacements. Peter Jackson (not used), Brad Tessmann. Coach, Wayne Bennett.
Greg Dowling withdrew through injury in the days before the match, and was replaced by Cavill Heugh. Bryan Niebling withdrew on he day of the match, with Lindner returning to the starting pack, with Brad Tessmann the new reserve.
NSW won 24-20 with Blues halfback, Peter Sterling man of the match.