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Foggy memories: 1991 - Queensland regain the Origin shield

Only two points separated the teams over the three games of the 1991 State of Origin series, when Queensland's tenacious defence saved many precarious situations.

Debutant forwards, Gary Larson and Mick McLean, rose to the occasion for the Queensland Maroons, in what was the farewell to Origin football for Queensland skipper Wally Lewis.

And what a way for 'The King' to bow out, with Queensland winning the series decider against New South Wales 14-12 at a packed Lang Park on the night of June 12. 

1991 - Queensland regain the Origin shield

Player of the match in the decider was Queensland prop, Martin 'Munster' Bella, a Sarina product who was contracted to Manly-Warringah at the time.

Capacity crowds watched all three matches and television ratings reached new highs throughout Australia and New Zealand.

A series of incidents in the second match of the series, in Sydney, have become part of Origin folklore, in particular a half-time blow-up between Lewis and New South Wales firebrand forward, Mark Geyer.

Lewis was man of the match in Game I, but conceded that he would not have won the award without his forwards doing the hard work, with Larson's defensive workload amazing team mates.

Bella was a rock in defence in the rucks, but it was his ability to cart the ball up, time and time again, with characteristic determination, that lifted his team mates. He was man of the match in Origin III, despite a stint in the sin bin.

Both sides scored six tries in the series, but Queensland centre Mal Meninga kicked four goals to NSW rival, Michael O'Connor's three.

Lewis's departure from the Origin arena left Meninga as the only survivor from the inaugural Origin match in 1990.

'Big Mal' would go on to play another three series for Queensland, before hanging up his boots after captaining Australia on the 1994 Kangaroo tour of Britain and France.

In addition to Larson and McLean, other Queensland debutants in 1991 were fullback Paul Hauff; centre Steve Renouf and prop Gavin Allen. Hauff played for Australia against New Zealand that same season. 

Queensland Rugby League thanks the History Committee for its contribution to this piece. Stay tuned to for future features.