Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

MCG MELODRAMA; Billy Moore Is Arguably as Well Known Now as He Was When a Maroons Star of the '90S, and Accepts the Recognition with Ease. but He Winces When Origin Matches Return to the MCG, Writes Tony Durkin

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

MCG MELODRAMA; Billy Moore Is Arguably as Well Known Now as He Was When a Maroons Star of the '90S, and Accepts the Recognition with Ease. but He Winces When Origin Matches Return to the MCG, Writes Tony Durkin

Article excerpt

WITH a squeaky-clean reputation on and off the field, Billy Moore squirms every time footage is shown of an ugly all-in brawl during a State of Origin match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1995.

Not only is the Mooloolaba restaurateur ashamed of his involvement in the spiteful affray, and his lack of pugilistic ability, he is mortified that - indirectly - he was the man responsible for the stain on the game.

At the first match in Sydney three weeks earlier, Moore was captured on TV hollering "Queenslander'' as the players walked down the tunnel after half-time.

Not only would that word become part of State of Origin folklore - and a massive profile-raising boost for the ex-Maroons back-rower - but it stirred NSW coach Phil Gould to boiling point.

The star-stacked Blues team had been stunningly beaten 2-nil in the opening game by a perceived second-rate Queensland outfit, and that was not supposed to happen.

"We had two internationals in our line-up; Dale Shearer who had played his last Test two years earlier, and Adrian Lam who had represented PNG," Moore recalled.

"The Blues fielded 12 internationals, so for them to be beaten by a bunch of nobodies like us was absolutely humiliating. They wanted more than revenge in Melbourne."

Moore recalls how a "mole'' among the NSW support staff had been privy to a pre-game meeting of the Blues and he relayed to Maroons coach Paul Vautin their plan to instigate the "stink''.

"Gould was filthy at what had happened in Sydney and wanted us upstarts taught a lesson," Moore said. "The order was for anyone in our side to be set upon if we gave the 'Queenslander' call. In other words, start a fight.

"Fatty (Vautin) told us about their strategy just before we ran out, and asked who was prepared to yell 'Queenslander'. …

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