Matt Cotter's Johnathan Thurston fire drum.
Matt Cotter's Johnathan Thurston fire drum.

Coal miner’s fiery Thurston tribute ahead of first State of Origin

FOR anyone wanting Johnathan Thurston to fire up in their backyard during this year's State of Origin, this central Queensland miner can probably help you out.

Matt Cotter has made over 50 backyard fire drums after he started experimenting with a grinder and a drum a couple of years ago.

"It gives me a chance to do a bit of art and get that creative side out," he said.

"I made a Batman one just for myself, then I found people were getting into it so I thought oh well, I'll branch out," he said.

He's played around with designs featuring everything from Gollum from Lord of the Rings to one with an ANZAC theme.

"The wife and I are both pretty crafty. We do painting and build a few things," Mr Cotter said.

 

"Some I sell, some I give away, some I just do for mates. The selling doesn't even cover the costs, but I'd be doing it for nothing anyway because I just enjoy that creative thing."

By far his most popular drums have featured the North Queensland Cowboys and the Brisbane Broncos, but there's another favourite firming in the lead-up to the State of Origin opener next week.

It features Johnathan Thurston in a Queensland State of Origin jersey.

Matt Cotter's Johnathan Thurston fire drum.
Matt Cotter's Johnathan Thurston fire drum.

"I've got about 10 orders for the same drum," Mr Cotter said.

"I've also done one with another picture of JT with his arms out when he kicked the goal in the (2015) grand final. They wanted a premiership drum and I thought that would be cool."

Mr Cotter said the process was quite easy, but portraits were most time-consuming.

Matt Cotter's Maroons fire drum.
Matt Cotter's Maroons fire drum.

"The difficult thing about them is tweaking the positive and negative colours to make it look good," he said.

"You only get two colours to play with, so if you do a portrait, it's hard to get a recognisable picture out of it."

And despite being more than happy to pay tribute to JT on a metal drum, the Gladstone miner has a confession to make.

Matt's Maroon Army fire drum.
Matt's Maroon Army fire drum.

"I'm actually a New South Wales supporter," he said.

"When I first moved up here, I married a girl from Gladstone, and before I met her father, she said he's a mad Queensland supporter," he said.

"I've got this massive Blues flag so I hung it up across the front of my garage. He rocked up and the first thing he said to me was: 'take it down or you're not marrying my daughter'. I just said 'well am I going to tell her or are you?' and we had a bit of a laugh."

Matt's North Queensland Cowboys drum featuring JT.
Matt's North Queensland Cowboys drum featuring JT.

Mr Cotter also has plans to rustle up another drum for himself ahead of next week's game.

"I'll probably do a New South Wales one and have a bit of party just to stir people up," he said.

"When I made the Queensland one, I made the joke that 'this'll be the last time Queensland'll be on fire'.



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