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Title: ... p32 - Arthur Beetson -State Of Origin myth debunked - Artie was picked from Parramatta 1st grade

I had been playing first grade in Sydney. And after the Origin match I was dropped-


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State Of Origin myth debunked - Artie was picked from Parramatta 1st grade prior to 1st State of Origin.....
SOURCE - ABC Radio AM program - ABC MORING RADIO (transcript)




Source of transcript: http://www.abc.net.au/am/s321452.htm

Reporter: John Taylor

CAMILLE FUNNELL: No other sporting event captivates the attention of Queenslanders like the State of Origin.

Tomorrow the series decider will be played out in Brisbane in front of a sell-out crowd with the headline attraction of half-back Allan Langer playing for Queensland. That announcement for many parallels the State of Origin myth of Artie Beetson, the man who it said was plucked from Parramatta reserve grade to captain his side to victory in the first ever game of the series.

But as John Taylor reports, the problem with the Beetson myth is, it isn't true.

JOHN TAYLOR: As sporting legends go, it's one cherished by Queensland rugby league State of Origin fans. In 1980 Artie Beetson was in the twilight of his career, at 35, winding down, playing in reserve grade for Parramatta in the New South Wales competition. But he was chosen to captain the Queensland side in the first State of Origin match. He played an inspiring game, leading his team to a 20:10 victory.

COMMENTATOR: Beetson up the centre. Back to Lange. Sends it away to Meninga. Meninga to Close. Close cutting back the other way. Catches the defence on the wrong foot. He's broken through. He's coming up to Eadie. Gets away from Eadie. He's over underneath!

JOHN TAYLOR: Chris 'Choppy' Close was named man of the match. But as he recounted years later, the award could easily have gone to Beetson.

CHRIS CLOSE: I probably just pipped Arthur Beetson, who had one of the most courageous displays in any sporting event in Australia for any time. I mean, to play for your state at 35 years of age, and to play the match that he did, has really inspired me from then, you know, until now. And I think that was the birth of the Queensland tradition and the spirit. And I certainly won man of the match. But I think it could have gone either way really.

JOHN TAYLOR: This week Queensland selectors announced Allan 'Alfie' Langer, had been recalled from the English league to play again for his state. In 1999 he'd retired mid-season from the Australian competition. The Australian newspaper on page 1 drew parallels to the calling up of Artie Beetson all those years ago.

REPORTER: It is the biggest selection surprise since Arthur Beetson, the man regarded as the father of Origin, was plucked from reserve grade to lead Queensland in the very first Origin game in 1980.

JOHN TAYLOR: Former Queensland and Australian captain and now television sports reporter Wally Lewis said much the same thing in his story as well. And he played alongside Beetson in that inaugural game.

COMMENTATOR: From deep down there's plenty of maroon jerseys coming at Anderson. Oliphant up there, and underneath was Lewis. Nice piece of work!

JOHN TAYLOR: But Artie Beetson says there's only one problem.

ARTIE BEETSON: That's not exactly right John. People say that because it suits. But I was actually playing first grade.

JOHN TAYLOR: Come again!

ARTIE BEETSON: So, people always said that. Actually the fact of the matter is that I got dropped after Origin to reserve grade.

JOHN TAYLOR: Oh, serious!

ARTIE BEETSON: No. Well, that's it. A lot of people don't know that. But I was plucked out of - I had been playing first grade in Sydney. And after the Origin match I was dropped.

JOHN TAYLOR: A check with the Parramatta Rugby League Club's records confirms Artie Beetson is telling the truth. He played in first grade the game before the State of Origin. And everyone else has been getting it wrong for more than a decade.

Does it matter?

Only as much as the minutia of history does. Beetson was still 35, and he still played a great game. And, after all, Queensland did what it does best - beat New South Wales.

CAMILLE FUNNELL: John Taylor reporting from Queensland.

Appears in the following pages ....P32_Arthur BEETSON
Date of posting ... 09-Jun-2003
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