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If doctors ever have to cut open Ian Stains they’ll find a giant orange and black heart pumping his Tiger blood around his body.

This young Tiger fan would grow up to be a Tigers premiership winning captain in 1991, playing 182 games for the Tigers, and if you get him started, it’s Tiger story time.

Ian Stains Q&A

How did a Toowoomba boy come to be at the Easts Tigers in 1985?

The easy answer is the great Tiger, Wayne Lindenberg. I had no desire to leave Toowoomba and Lindy became coach in 1985 and said he was taking me with him. That 1985 season I drove from Toowoomba to Easts four times a week. It was a tiring year. We moved in 1986 and now my wife will never go back to Toowoomba. Too cold, she says. I would never have left Toowoomba if not for Lindy. I owe him everything. We bought a house that overlooks Langlands Park. I could look out off my balcony and watch the C grade and know when it was time to leave for the game. I sell raffle tickets at the club every week. I love the place.

Against Souths in 1985 and Lindenberg gives you your debut - what were your thoughts?

Well I was shocked because I had been playing in the backs and not going too well to be honest. Lindy announced the first grade team to take on Souths - who would be premiers in nine months’ time - and he named me in the forwards. 'So the back not playing well is now in the forwards against Norm Carr and Chris Phelan' - a few of the boys were looking around saying 'what’s going on here?'.

You beat Souths 18-6 and Lindy screams in the paper Stains killed 'em.

Lindy came up to me after the game and put his arm around me and said 'I knew you could do it', which meant the world to me. Now I knew I was stuck in the forwards forever, which wasn’t great for me.

Your brother Dan Stains is playing for Brothers in 1986 and 1987, how did you go against Dan?

Well Brothers beat us 40-0 one day, so not great. But I used to tell every Tiger before we played, 'do not run at Dan'. He was such a great tackler. I tried to help people out and keep my teammates alive. Mal Green was the best tackler I ever played against, but Dan wasn’t too far off that. I avoided both. Green was mad and Dan was technically very good.

Who was the better player, you or Dan?

I have been asked this a lot and people sometimes suggest it was me. I remind them Dan played Origin and went on a tour of New Zealand for Australia. Dan was super dedicated and I wasn’t to be honest. While I was getting home from a night out and in the fridge making a corn meat sandwich for breakfast, Dan was doing sit ups at 5am. That there was the difference between us.

John Lang comes to the Tigers in 1991 and you win the grand final over Wests 25-10. He makes you captain. To win a premiership under Lang for the Tigers, that’s unbelievable.

I was at the 1976 grand final with my Tigers flag. When John Payne kicked the field goal to go ahead 1-0, I thought 'you beauty we have them here'. Tigers lost 16-1. To captain the Tigers to a premiership and have John Lang as coach is truly my greatest achievement.

John Lang, what did he teach you?

John Lang made you feel special, he gave you confidence. I wanted to be captain. I didn’t know this, but Des Morris suggested to Langy that I would be a good captain. That’s not too bad is it - Morris, Lang and Lindenberg - life-changing men. They just ooze success.

You went to the Gold Coast Seagulls in 1992 for a year - why the move?

I was 30 which was pretty old then for a footballer, but I got the chance to play with Wally Lewis and Dale Shearer and play against Great Britain on their 1992 tour. It was an enjoyable time at the Seagulls and then I came back to the Tigers to finish my career in at the end of 1994.

Do you have your Tigers jumpers?

Yes, my wife has kept them all, My Tigers jumper and my Seagulls jumper. I am Seagull number 88 and Tiger number 801.

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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