ALL-conquering Queensland captain Cameron Smith says former skipper Darren Lockyer changed the lives of many Maroons players when he swooped on a loose ball to snatch a memorable series-deciding victory over New South Wales in 2006.
With Queensland looking like it would slump to a fourth successive series loss, an alert Lockyer was in the right spot at the right time to punish the Blues for a poor pass that hit the ground before the Queensland fullback pounced to lock up the score 14-all.
He then calmly kicked one of the biggest goals of his career.
Speaking on the exact day of the 10th anniversary of Lockyer’s try, Smith recalled what he described was a “turning point” in Origin history.
“I do reflect on it from time to time,” said Smith, who has since gone past Lockyer’s record of 36 Origins to be playing No.39 next Wednesday night.
“It wasn’t just a huge moment and a turning point for Queensland, it was a turning point in a lot of our careers as well.
“Most of us, except for Locky (Lockyer), Steve Price and Petero Civoniceva, I don’t think we had had a series victory among us.
“For that moment to happen, it changed the course of a lot of our Origin careers and changed the course of Origin itself.
“It put us on the course to eight straight.”
Smith said 10 years on, he felt a better footballer and a better person and a lot of that had to do with that night in 2006.
“It helps your belief and it can have a positive effect on your life as well.”
Smith said he learnt a great deal from Lockyer about handling pressure and big moments and not becoming flustered at key times of a game.
“Locky always had a lot of time and never panicked,” he said.
Smith has certainly learned well.