It’s official … the Maroons are the state’s premier sporting team.
This was the sentiment at the Queensland Sport Awards dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight when the Maroons were announced as the 2017 XXXX Queensland Sport Team of the Year.
QRL Managing Director Robert Moore accepted the award on behalf of the XXXX Queensland Maroons.
“This is a fabulous result and outstanding recognition for a team that captivated an entire state by winning what many thought was the unwinnable series,” Moore said.
“Credit must go to coach Kevin Walters and his fellow selectors who were faced with many tough decisions, as well as the players and support staff who maintained their incredibly high standards during such a challenging period.”
This year, eight players were thrust into the Origin arena for the first time as the Maroons selectors ushered in a new era following the Game I loss to the Blues.
A settled and confident NSW team was on track to clinch Game II and the series when they skipped away to a 16-6 halftime lead.
However, Queensland responded like a champion team it is, rallying from behind to snatch a remarkable 18-16 win after a late try and brilliant sideline conversion from a wounded Johnathan Thurston.
The Maroons carried that momentum into the decider, dominating the Blues on their way to a comprehensive 22-6 victory in front of more than 52,000 fans.
The win was even more meritorious given the long list of injuries to proven Origin performers, including Greg Inglis, Matt Scott, Darius Boyd and Thurston.
The next generation of stars stepped up in their absence, with the likes of Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster and Valentine Holmes making their mark alongside Origin stalwarts Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.