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Shearer on playing for Queensland: ‘Means a hell of a lot’

For Dale ‘Rowdy’ Shearer, every time he wore the Queensland Maroons jersey, it was an honour he did not take lightly. It was an honour that meant “a hell of a lot”.

Shearer – FOG #43 - played 26 State of Origin games between 1985 and 1996. He played with the likes of Mal Meninga and Wally Lewis and was an absolute try-scoring machine.

Shearer held the Origin try-scoring record with 12 tries for nearly two decades before Greg Inglis overtook him in 2012.

Every Dale Shearer try for Queensland

“It meant so much because coming back from New South Wales, where you obviously love your family and parents… it was an opportunity for them to see,” Shearer, who was at Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at the time of his Maroons debut, said.

“Back in the day there was only a Saturday afternoon ABC game and maybe one on Sunday. So it was always good to come back home from Manly to play.”

Shearer said running out for the first time was largely indescribable.

Dale Shearer. Photo: NRL Imagery
Dale Shearer. Photo: NRL Imagery

“It’s unbelievable to describe the first moment I ran out... just each step I took the crowd was just unbelievable, roaring, and then it just felt deafening when the other foot landed… it was a weird, strange feeling,” Shearer said.

“I’ve never felt anything like that again.”

Shearer said he was always really keen to play – obviously, especially alongside players like Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin.

“There was so many good players around at that time… Wally, Mal.. and obviously I’m going to favour the backs, and Allan Langer – Alfie – turned up on the scene,” Shearer said.

Shearer talking to Daly Cherry-Evans. Photo: Somha Sleeth/QRL
Shearer talking to Daly Cherry-Evans. Photo: Somha Sleeth/QRL

“Alan McIndoe, he was on the wing, but he was a great guy. I enjoyed his company and roomed with him a lot of the time, and Jacko – Peter Jackson.”

His favourite memory was during Wally Lewis’s final Origin match in 1991; NSW had the lead 12-8 when Shearer got the ball and scored.

Shearer said coach Graham Lowe “wouldn’t pick me in the bloody team because I wouldn’t stay at Manly”, so he was sitting on the bench, “dying to get out there”.

“He picked me on the bench and then we were losing it,” Shearer recalled.

“I actually said to him, ‘do you want to win this bloody Origin series or not?’

“I was dying to get out there. It was the last game and it was the long cut our ball Alfie threw, so not only did I score a try, but it was the winning try. Mal knocked the goal over and we won the game and the series.”

Shearer said he felt very privileged to be part of the Maroons fabric.

“It’s just like family, footy,” Shearer said.

“I've had friends come over to my place, some I haven't seen for 10 years and it feels like we've been chatting to them every week or fortnight or at least every month.

“And it's just like that… you mightn't see them for three or five years, but it is just like they are a next door neighbour and it's always great to catch up with them.”

Shearer said the current crop of Maroons impressed him.

“They just look really confident and happy and just so relaxed,” Shearer said.

Dale Shearer talking to Reuben Cotter. Photo: Somha Sleeth/QRL
Dale Shearer talking to Reuben Cotter. Photo: Somha Sleeth/QRL

“I was just talking to Alfie about it. He said, ‘yeah, they are mate, good bunch of guys and they just get on so well’.

“I can only see them getting stronger and stronger. They're so young, so hopefully big future.

“The future of Queensland is looking real good. They're so young and they’re only going to get stronger and more confident in each other. Bright future.”

Shearer said he could not wait to watch on Wednesday.



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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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