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How Scott went from reserves to Maroons via telegram

"Telegram for you, Mr Scott."

When Colin Scott opened the door of his inner Brisbane flat one cold winter’s morning in 1980 and heard those words he rubbed his eyes and could hardly believe what the bearer of glad tidings delivered into his trembling hands.

Scott, who incredibly was in reserve grade at the time, was presented with a telegram which ultimately changed the course of his life. It said: "Please phone Queensland Rugby League on 365022. You’re in the team. Mutton."

The telegram spelled his name 'Collin' with an extra ‘l’, but he wasn’t complaining. Lang Park and the inaugural State of Origin clash beckoned, and a 17-game Maroons career was about to begin for the Townsville-raised fullback.

"I was living in Coorparoo. I just got a knock on the door and there it was… a hand delivered telegram from QRL secretary Bill Mutton. I rang him and he said to come and get my Queensland gear," Scott told NRL.com.

"I had been in reserve grade with Easts Tigers all that year until that telegram arrived to say I was in the first Maroons side in State of Origin. After that Easts put me in first grade for the rest of the year in the centres, just unbelievable when you think of it today.

"In the early 1980s the Queensland selectors were loyal to the players. I had played for Queensland in the interstate series in 1979 when I was only 19 and even though I was in reserve grade at club level they still stuck with me.

"I am just glad that I hung onto that telegram, because it was a special moment and a far cry from how players find out today that they are in the Queensland team."

Scott was  a mainstay for the Maroons in the 1980s and played most of his Origin games at fullback in a career where he acquired an affinity for the No.1.

"The number one was kind to me," Scott grinned.

"Apart from being the first fullback for the Maroons I wore the number one at Wynnum-Manly in the club’s first A grade premiership win and I was the first Broncos fullback in 1988.

"I was number one for Australia and I played one Test at fullback. Of course, it’s my favourite number."

Scott is however FOG [Former Origin Great] number two. He had to make way for his idol and inaugural Maroons skipper Arthur Beetson, who is FOG number one.

When FOGS executive chairman Gene Miles told Scott that Beetson was going to bump him back to "two", he was all for it.

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"I said to Geno it would be a real honour to be number two if Arthur was number one. We were the first two Aboriginal players to play Origin in 1980 and I am really proud of that," Scott said.

"Queensland has embraced Aboriginal players all the way through and Arthur was a big part of that and still is with his amazing legacy.

"As a young country boy from Townsville I had always looked at Arthur as a trail blazer. He was my idol, and I got to play with him."

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Scott went into the dressing rooms at Lang Park on July 8, 1980 and was getting changed when Beetson walked over and said, "how are you going Scotty?"

He was going even better after Queensland won 20-10, and was soon on the phone to his mum.

"After we won I raced down to the nearest phone box, rang mum and told her that Arthur Beetson knew my name,” Scott said.

"That is how awestruck I was. Arthur was amazing that night. He led us and we followed

"After the 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.

It was a special moment and a far cry from how players find out today that they are in the Queensland team

Colin Scott

"That was the start of the [Maroons] career of Wally Lewis and I was fortunate enough to play club footy with him in some great sides."

Lewis doesn’t recall getting a 1980 telegram but the NRL Immortal told NRL.com that Scott was a pleasure to play alongside, both on and off the field where he became a source of plenty of laughs.

"I remember Scotty used to cop it for supposedly having a bit of trouble under the high ball and we opened the paper one day and he was quoted saying he had been doing special eye exercises to fix it, which left us in fits of laughter," Lewis told NRL.com.

"If you are going to tell a porky, tell a good one, but he caught many more than he ever dropped and was a remarkably strong ball carrier and underrated player for Queensland.

"He was great for team morale and humour and a key man in our 1984 Wynnum premiership winning side, and that was as white hot a team as I have played in.

"Scotty was suspended for the grand final but at fullback that year he was unstoppable with his injection into the play.

"He could run off me, Brett French or Geno or off our forwards like GD [Greg Dowling].

"He did the same for Queensland where his positional play was fantastic and he was always in the right spot at the right time. He didn’t need any eye exercises then."