‘Thirty minutes of fighting and then a game of footy broke out’: Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach on Origin of old
One of the most feared men in Rugby League History, NRL Legend Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach, fondly recalls the old days of State of Origin where anything and everything was legal.
Having played 17 games for New South Wales spanning seven years, Blocker never took a backward step, especially when it came to Origin.
Appearing on today’s segment of Australian Sporting Heroes with David Morrow and Mat Thompson, Roach pulled back the curtain on what it’s really like to run out in enemy territory under the bright lights of ‘The Cauldron’ – Lang Park.
“It was intimidating alright. The thing I remember most about it was the sound of the stadium when you run out. It was just horrifying,” Blocker said.
“I remember we used to have the five-metre rule and even the ball boys used to get bashed. It was ridiculous”.
With the days of the ‘biff’ now long gone in Rugby League, Blocker harked back to some of the nostalgic and hard-hitting moments from his Origin matches.
“The first few origins I played up there in Queensland were relentless. The first thirty minutes was fighting and then a game of footy broke out. But we honestly didn’t know any different. That’s the way we grew up watching it and that’s the way we thought it was played.”
Origin’s mythology was built by fists, all-in brawls, legendary biff, showcased best in Game Two of the 1984 series.
As NSW had lost the series opener, Roach recalls how the Blues team were given free rein let their fists do the talking.
No time was wasted either, with chaos erupting in the first set of the game.
“I remember it as clear as day. We had lost the first game, and our coach was Ronnie Willie and Wayne Pearce was the captain. Ronnie had sat us down before the game and said, ‘I’ve only got one word for you – FIGHT!”
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