REFLECTION: Today marks exactly 35 years since current Wallaroos coach Colin Scott played fullback for Queensland in the first State of Origin game.
REFLECTION: Today marks exactly 35 years since current Wallaroos coach Colin Scott played fullback for Queensland in the first State of Origin game. Robyne Cuerel

Queensland's first fullback Scott remembers inaugural Origin

CHASE your dreams, because no matter how far away they seem, you can achieve it if you work hard enough.

That is the main message Maryborough Wallaroos coach Colin Scott delivers when he visits indigenous communities, drawing on his time growing up in a Townsville housing commission in the 1960s armed with talent and a dream.

Scott worked hard to make his dream a reality, and in 1980 he achieved what every junior rugby league player desires: he represented his home state.

Tonight's State of Origin decider marks exactly 35 years since the inaugural game, and a then-20-year-old Scott was in the thick of it.

"It was a bit surreal for me," he said.

"I was a young fella in Townsville, then all of a sudden we were at Lang Park for our medicals.

"I'd never met Artie (Arthur Beetson) before that but he came through the door, walked over to me and said 'how you doing, Scotty?'.

"It blew me away he knew my name.

"We didn't have mobile phones then but I went down to the phone box, called mum and was like 'he knew my name!'."

All Queensland players are given a number based on when they were selected: Beetson is number one, Scott is number two.

That partnership means more to Scott than being remembered as Queensland's fullback in the opening Origin, but it solidified the connection between the Maroons jersey and the proud indigenous population.

"We make up 1% of the population but when it comes to State of Origin we represent about 35% of Queensland players," Scott said.

"If I get the opportunity to get out to communities to talk to these kids, my message is, 'you never know where your dream can take you'.

"I never thought I'd play for Queensland.

"If you have the dream you can achieve it; if you want it, work hard and chase it."

Scott went on to play 17 Origins for Queensland between 1980 and 1987, and represented Australia once.

The opportunity to walk into the Cauldron behind Beetson lives on as the greatest moment in Scott's career.

Queensland won that game 20-10, thanks to current coach Mal Meninga's seven goals and a try each to Kerry Boustead and Chris Close.

Both New South Wales' and Queensland's inaugural teams met yesterday for a charity lunch in Brisbane, and will hold another reunion today.

"The opportunity to play with these blokes, it was something you think about but never believe could happen," Scott said.

"We didn't have the same preparation as they do now.

"We had the medical, one training run, and a few beers with the boys - bonding was more important than training back then."

Scott still rates the way the crowd erupted when Beetson's name was called at the start of that match as the loudest he has ever heard.

"Towards the end of the game the big 'Artie, Artie, Artie' chant started at one end and within a few minutes everyone was chanting," he said.

"I spent the night looking after him, getting him beers. I was like a kid in a candy store."

Scott will spend tonight's Origin alongside his former teammates and opponents at Suncorp Stadium, as Queensland aims to reclaim the shield.

The game now is completely different to the one they played 35 years ago, but the sound of the crowd, the pride in the jersey and the elation for the winning side is something that will never change.