Take five re done for Pete
Take five re done for Pete

The five best Maroons fullbacks in history

AS the battle between Kalyn Ponga and Valentine Holmes for the No.1 Maroons jersey for this year's State of Origin makes the headlines, we look back at the best Queensland fullbacks to ever take the field.

Vote below for who you think the greatest of all-time is.

 

 

 

The 1980 Queensland State of Origin team with Colin Scott back row, second from right.
The 1980 Queensland State of Origin team with Colin Scott back row, second from right.

 

5. COLIN SCOTT

WAS Queensland's first Origin fullback and did well to adjust to the frenzied pace of Origin after playing in the Queensland club competition for Wynnum-Manly.

May not have had the elusive qualities of Slater or Belcher but was tough, dependable and a strong runner who was popular with his team-mates.

Played for Queensland for nine years but surprisingly scored only one try.

Queensland thought so much of his bankability that after he lost his fullback spot to Belcher he was later brought back as a winger and on to the bench.

 

 

Robbie O’Davis in action for the Maroons during the 1999 series. Picture: Anthony Weate
Robbie O’Davis in action for the Maroons during the 1999 series. Picture: Anthony Weate

 

4. ROBBIE O'DAVIS

PLAYED 12 games in an eight year span for the Maroons and was an under-rated star of that era.

Was a key force in Queensland's unforgettable series win against the odds in 1995 as one of Fatty Vautin's rag tag bunch who stormed to victory.

Small but pacey and elusive, he always punched above his weight. Was a big occasion player who tended to shine for Newcastle in the major games.

Weighed under 80kgs but electric pace ensured he was never an easy target for bigger defenders.

 

 

Gary Belcher turns Laurie Daley inside out during the 1989 series. Picture: Steve Moorhouse
Gary Belcher turns Laurie Daley inside out during the 1989 series. Picture: Steve Moorhouse

 

3. GARY BELCHER

BELCHER was a Brisbane Rugby League Premiership winner with Souths in 1985, but had to wait until the following year (after he had made the move to the NSWRL for the Canberra Raiders) before making his debut in the second game of 1986.

It might have been an inauspicious time to debut, as Queensland was clean swept for the first time that year, but after biding his time behind Colin Scott those first few years, Belcher made the position his own.

 

He played every Origin game between 1987 and 1990, sharing in three consecutive series wins, including two clean sweeps, where he was as safe as a house at the back and regularly chimed into the silky backline moves orchestrated by the halves pairing of Lewis and Langer.

In all, he played 16 games for his state and scored four tries in a total haul of 48 points.

He also played 15 times for Australia and was an integral part of the dominant Canberra Raiders sides of 1989 and 1990.

 

Darren Lockyer did some of his finest work in the No.1 jersey. Pic Phil Hillyard. Rugby League A/CT
Darren Lockyer did some of his finest work in the No.1 jersey. Pic Phil Hillyard. Rugby League A/CT

 

2. DARREN LOCKYER

WAS named fullback in the Queensland Team of the Century in 2008.

Won the Golden Boot as the best player in the world from fullback in 2003. Played 16 games for Queensland in the No.1 jersey from 1998 to 2003 before switching to five-eighth.

Was outstanding in the 2001 series win when he also took over the captaincy from the injured Gorden Tallis. Played in the 1998 series win and the drawn series in 1999 and 2002.

Does not get the credit he deserves for revolutionising the fullback position with sublime playmaking skills complementing his blistering pace and perfect positional play.

 

 

Billy Slater about to put a step on a clueless Blues opponent. Picture: Peter Wallis
Billy Slater about to put a step on a clueless Blues opponent. Picture: Peter Wallis

 

1. BILLY SLATER

IRONICALLY enough, Slater's most famous Origin moment - the memorable chip and chase try in Game 2 of 2004 - came when he was positioned on the wing (in his debut year for the Maroons), but for the next decade and a half, he pretty much owned the Queensland number one jersey.

Slater would eventually retire with 31 games for Queensland, a big chunk of them in the glory years where the Maroons won eight consecutive series from 2006 to 2013.

He scored 12 Origin tries - putting him on level footing with Dale Shearer as the third most prolific try scorer in Origin history to the time of his retirement.

Injury ruled him out for the entire 2016 series, but after being controversially overlooked for Game 1 in 2017, made a triumphant return in the final two games to help the Maroons to their third consecutive Series win and 11th in 12 years.

The following year he captained his state for the first time before bowing out of the game at the end of the season.

His dominance at club and state level saw him wear the Kangaroos jersey in 30 Test Matches.

 



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