You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Kerrod Walters is just happy the wire fence around Lang Park in 1980 wasn't Walters proof.

"I was at a luncheon the other day and a guy said to me that he was at the first Origin game and went through a hole in the fence. I said 'my dad cut that hole'," Walters chuckled as he reflected on his Queensland Maroons career and the moment that lit a fire in his belly.

It is more than a fond memory. It was in fact a date with destiny that has since become a folkloric episode in Maroons history for the Walters brothers.

For Walters - who made his State of Origin debut at Lang Park as starting hooker nine years after Arthur Beetson led Queensland to a famous victory - what he saw that July 8 night in 1980 opened up a whole new world painted in maroon.

Kerrod, Kevin, Andrew, Brett and Steve. The five brothers were all on hand with their late father Kevin Snr as eyewitnesses to a game that would change lives.

"We were all there at Lang Park in 1980 for the first Origin game, and to think that nine years later I'd be playing there and be part of a 3-nil whitewash is pretty surreal," Walters reflected with more than a heavy dose of nostalgia.

"Brett played in the curtain raiser with Kevin Langer in the under 18s so Alf, Kevvie, 'Drew and Boxhead [Steve] were in the outer with me watching.

"That was the night dad cut a hole in the fence with a pair of pliers so we could get in because the lineup to get in was so long.

"Us and about 5000 others went through that hole so I reckon the crowd was way bigger than 33,000 that night."

All five Walters brothers played Queensland under 18s and three would go on to play in the Origin cauldron.

After a stellar start to his Brisbane Broncos career, Kerrod Walters was the first.

When the 1989 series rolled around the Maroons were set to field what many regard as their greatest ever team, and Walters was in it.

"On my debut I was pretty lucky that Arthur Beetson was my coach and Wally Lewis was my captain. You couldn’t ask for two greater icons of State of Origin footy," Walters said. 

"I was also lucky that I was playing at the Broncos and Wally had a pretty fair influence on the team that was selected as well. He pumped for me and I got the nod ahead of Steve.

"The occasion didn’t sink in until just before the game when Arthur presented me with my jersey and I thought 'I really am playing Origin now’. 

"I was sitting next to blokes like Wally, Geno, Alf, Fatty Vautin, Gilly, Peter Jackson, Gary Belcher and Bob Lindner, who had all played a lot of Origin games and I couldn’t believe I was playing with them.

"We won the series 3-nil and I had a reasonable series."

It was a debut beyond Walters' wildest dreams. A 36-6 win followed and the Ipswich lad was off to Sydney for the second game of the series and what was to be Queensland's finest hour.

Allan Langer broke his ankle in the 18th minute, Mal Meninga fractured his eye socket in the 29th and Paul Vautin did not come back in the second half due to an elbow injury. Michael Hancock was gone in the 57th minute with a shoulder dislocation and brave Bob Lindner was stretchered off with a broken leg in the 75th, a fracture he had played most of the game with.

The Maroons still prevailed 16-12 with Walters getting a try in the second half, after the ball went through nine sets of hands - an absolute corker.

"Chika Ferguson and Laurie Daley were chasing me and I knew they were going to catch me so I just pinned the ears back, went for it and just held them off to get over the line," Walters recalled.

"I had the mad mullet flowing in the breeze, and I am glad to see they are coming back with all the young kids getting them. I'd grow myself a mullet today if I could.

"But back to that try…it got us back in front and then Wally scored his famous try where he did it all himself after Gilly jolted the ball free with one of his tackles.

"Wally said that was his greatest ever win for Queensland due to the fact we finished the game with 12 men.

"It was backs against the wall and somehow we managed to win against the odds.

It was a game we weren’t supposed to win but we found a way like most Queensland teams over the years.

Kerrod Walters FOG #60

"I went on to get man of the match in Game III at Lang Park and that same night I got picked in the Australian team so it all happened really fast for me."

Walters' brother Steve was also fast developing at the Canberra Raiders into a rake of class and Maroons selectors were now faced with a choice of Walters or Walters.

In 1990 Walters missed Game I with injury and his brother Steve took his place in the Maroons side before he returned for the rest of the series.

"In 1991 I got suspended two weeks before Origin. When I didn't get the phone call before Game II I thought 'this doesn’t look good' but Steve played so well in Game I that they picked him for the rest of the series and that was pretty much my Origin career done and dusted," Walters said.

"I played again in 1994 when Steve got injured but that was it for me. It was a short and sweet Origin career.

"Steve was a fantastic player, so to miss out to him was OK by me and I got to play six Origins for Queensland.

"We always had friendly banter but also a lot of respect for each other.

"Back then they never carried a hooker on the bench so either he made it or I made it."

Walters made his mark and the Origin arena left its own mark on him, with plenty of fun times along the way.

"When Willie Carne first got selected we told him that when you go in to camp you had to bring your own food with you so he turned up with all these times of spaghetti and baked beans in his bag," Walters grinned.

"Driving down Caxton St in the team bus was a highlight of any Maroons player's career… and when Wally used to drive the team bus, that was one of the most frightening experiences I’ve ever had.

"Arthur would sit up the back and s*** himself because Wally drove it like a Formula 1 car and got us to training and back in record time."

Walters, who now lives on the Sunshine Coast, was a real estate agent for eight years after retiring.

Now he and wife Desley have their hands full to say the very least.

"We have got three clothing shops, a shoe shop and a commercial cleaning business," Walters said.

"We’ve also got a little coffee shop in the middle of Caloundra called 'The Coffee Box', so we’ve got a few irons in the fire."

Walters had a chuckle when he explained how his coffee shop was named.

"Boxhead thinks it is named after him but it is not," he grinned.

"It is a little kiosk the size of a box so we called it The Coffee Box."

Walters said he had the opportunity to coach after his playing career ended but decided not to go down that path.

Come Origin time though he is often picking up the phone to his twin brother Kevin.

"I still love the game and coach Kevvie still gets lots of calls from me offering friendly Maroons advice when Origin rolls around," Walters chuckled.

"He does take the calls, but he doesn’t listen… although he did once.

"I told him to pick Ben Hunt at hooker, and he did. I’ve long thought that is Benny's spot."