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Foggy memories: Scott's lifelong obsession with 'one'

Queensland Maroons legend Colin Scott admits to having a healthy obsession with the number 'one'.

"It is my favourite number," Scott grinned.

"I was the number one in the very first Origin. I was the number one for the Broncos when they first started. I was the number one for Wynnum Manly when they won their first ever A grade grand final.

"I wore the number one for Australia and I played one Test for Australia… so number one has been a highlight of my career."

The appeal of the ‘number one’ in a Queensland context also extends to Scott’s email address, which is qld_01@yahoo.com. 

"I have had that for quite a while now,” Scott said, with some pride.

It is more than just a quirky historical point of interest that Scott is FOG #2, a situation he is more than happy with. While he wore the number one jersey for the Maroons in 1980, he had to make way for his idol.

Colin Scott runs. Photo: NRL Images
Colin Scott runs. Photo: NRL Images

"The FOGS organisation came up with the concept of numbering the Queensland players as they came into the Origin system. That’s when they rang me and said ‘Scotty, we are going to number everyone that played in Origin and as the first fullback you were number one, but do you mind if we give that to Arthur Beetson?’ I said it was no problem at all," Scott said.

"In fact, I said that it would be an absolute honour to be number two behind Arthur. We were the first two Aboriginal players to play Origin in 1980, so that is another feat I am pretty proud of.

"Since then there have been plenty of  Aboriginal players who have been legends in the Origin arena,  and it all comes from what Arthur did.”

Scott made his Origin debut in rather unusual circumstances.

"I first played for Queensland in the interstate series in 1979 from Souths in Townsville back when you could make it from the country,” Scott recalled.

"In 1980 I had gone to Easts Tigers and they put me in reserves. I got picked in the Queensland interstate series side from reserves and a few weeks later I was named in the Origin team.

"I didn’t expect it. I was at home and picked up the paper and there it was.

"The Queensland Rugby League actually sent me a telegram to tell me I'd made it. I have a photo of it and I put it up on Facebook a while ago. Looking back, it is incredible how they got in contact with us."

Scott played his part in an historic 20-10 win at Lang Park. After the match he was soon on the phone to his mum, and for good reason.

"I grew up in Townsville as a country boy and I idolised a lot of players over the years, and Arthur was one of them," Scott said.

"There are not too many people who get to play with their rugby league idol. I did.

"I remember when we went in the dressing rooms at Lang Park and I was getting changed. Arthur walked over and said 'how are you going Scotty?' and I couldn’t believe it.

"I went down to the phone box after the game, rang my mum and told her that Arthur Beetson knew my name.

"That is how overawed I was before the game. In those situations you have a job to do. Arthur was great in that respect with the way he came around and spoke to us.

"He said, 'I was in the same boat as you when I first started. It is an opportunity so make the most of it'.

"I remember after that first Origin game I was like a kid in a candy store. We were back at the hotel and I was Arthur’s waiter. I was serving him beer all night."

Scott with Arthur Beetson's statue. Photo: QRL
Scott with Arthur Beetson's statue. Photo: QRL

Scott was a mainstay of the Queensland side for most of the 1980s in 17 games for the Maroons and was shown great loyalty by Beetson when he became the coach.

"Back in those days the Queensland selectors were very loyal to me and they kept us together as a unit in those early 1980s," Scott said.

"That cohesion was a big part of our success."

In many old Maroons games from the 1980s you will see Scott running off a Gene Miles pass. Wherever powerhouse centre Miles went, fullback Scott seemed to follow.

That was no co-incidence when you consider the remarkable history the two Queensland legends share.

Former Maroons and Wynnum Manly teammates Gene Miles and Colin Scott watch a Wynnum game at Kougari Oval in 1985 during their Queensland pomp.  Photo: NRL Images
Former Maroons and Wynnum Manly teammates Gene Miles and Colin Scott watch a Wynnum game at Kougari Oval in 1985 during their Queensland pomp. Photo: NRL Images

"We played all of our junior football in Townsville together. I am a year younger than him but he won’t admit that," Scott grinned.

"I remember I played in two grand finals one year for Souths [Townsville] in under  14s and under 15s. We won our 14s grand final and then I ran on for the under 15 games and scored the first try off Geno. That is when we got our combination going and it went into our senior football when we played for Townsville together. We got back together again at Wynnum Manly and then of course for the Broncos and Queensland.”

In Origin football the duo formed a lethal combination, and with good reason.

"Geno always had skill. He’d played a bit of basketball so ball skills were always a part of his game," Scott recalled.

"There were the one-handed passes, around the back and around the corner. I knew he could get a ball away in a tackle so I always followed him because he had the height and strength to get the ball away in tackles.

"It became a pretty common sight that I would follow him every time he ran the ball."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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