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Sam Thaiday's top five Maroons teammates

Sam Thaiday loves Queensland, loves rugby league and loves the Queensland Maroons.

Thaiday – FOG #157 – played 29 games for the Maroons and it’s a team that means the world to him. It’s a team - as he put it - built on history, working hard, rising above adversity and being there for mates.

"I go back to what Billy Slater said after Game I in Adelaide. He spoke about the people of Queensland and where a lot of these fellas grow up, where a lot of the players that I played with, where they grew up,” Thaiday said.

“Low socio areas within Brisbane itself, small country towns, some of our guys grew up on farms and you know, they just know adversity, they know that backs against the wall… that kind of the mentality, they bring into wearing a Queensland jersey.

"And I think even for myself, I grew up in Townsville and was lucky and fortunate enough to make a couple of Queensland teams as a young kid when I was 17.

“It was something I always wanted to do, something I always aspired to do. I watched Queensland play on TV. I was always in awe of the guys that wore that Maroons jersey and wanted the chance, the opportunity to do it when I was old enough or if I ever had the chance to. We’re just built different.”

Thaiday said running out wearing maroon for the first time – and every time after that - “was like any descriptive emotion that you can write down… I was all of the above”.

“Super nervous, super proud, didn't want to let my teammates down,” Thaiday said.

“It was something that I'd worked so hard for, for such a long period of time and I was excited for the chance and opportunity and for me, if it was one, that was enough because that's all I ever wanted. I only ever wanted one.

“I've had a chance to really reflect on my Origin career, my footy career now that I'm retired and, you know, I have been told in the past ‘you could have played 30’… I played one and one was enough.”

Thaiday said picking his favourite teammates from his time in maroon was hard – impossible even - but there were a few that were “different for different reasons”. His five do include three of the current Maroons coaching staff.

Thaiday’s five favourite Maroons teammates

1. Nate Myles

Nate Myles is one and for a couple of different reasons. When I think of Queensland, I think of Nate Myles and what he brought to the team. He always lifted whenever he wore that jersey. But I played a lot of junior footy against Nate as well. He was a Cairns boy and I was a Townsville boy… we played some representative footy against one another. And those guys that you play with and against as young kids, you want to see come through and that's probably the same reason why I'll pick the second guy.

2. Neville Costigan

Neville was from Mackay and same thing, I played XXXX Foley Shield footy against him. And, I think there's a pretty cool photo of the three of us all together. I might have even scored a try and, Neville's kind of hugging me from behind in a good way. We were excited. Nate's in the photo as well and that's one of my favourite Origin photos ever because of that reason… those two guys that I came through playing junior footy against.

Costigan and Thaiday. Photo: NRL Imagery
Costigan and Thaiday. Photo: NRL Imagery

3. Billy Slater

Billy was the ultimate professional and I kind of see that's the way he coaches these boys now. The way that he prepares, the way that he speaks, is exactly the way that he played for Queensland.

Slater and Thaiday. Photo: NRL Imagery
Slater and Thaiday. Photo: NRL Imagery

4.  Johnathan Thurston

JT was just a freak. And, when he was in your team, you knew that you were going to be in every game that you played.

Thaiday and Thurston. Photo: NRL Imagery
Thaiday and Thurston. Photo: NRL Imagery

5. Cameron Smith

The accountant, everything was measured with Smithy. It's funny, I can remember more of Cam's speeches before a game than I do of Mal Meninga’s. Cam was the guy that a lot of the time throughout my career, he was the last word before we ran out in the field. And it was kind of the way that he said things and the things that he said that really inspired you and wanted you to get out there. That’s my five.

Thaiday and Smith. Photo: NRL Imagery
Thaiday and Smith. Photo: NRL Imagery


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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