30 years later, the magical moment of Coyne’s Origin resonates in the Maroons



It’s been 30 years since Mark Coyne’s “miracle try” for Queensland and the Maroons’ insatiable spirit of never giving up in that magical moment still resonates with the current team.

Coyne finished a sweeping move in the 16-12 victory in the first game of the 1994 State of Origin series in Sydney, where the ball went through 10 sets of hands in the 79th-minute winner.

He was immortalized by commentator Ray Warren when he famously said: “That’s not a try. “That’s a miracle.”

Reflecting on that victory three decades later, Coyne and current Maroons players spoke of how being ready to fulfill your Origin role and never being beaten when pulling on a Queensland jersey were as compelling truths today as in 1994.

The players who handled the ball in the 60-metre move were some of the best to ever lace up a boot for the Maroons, including Steve Renouf, Kevin Walters, Allan Langer and Mal Meninga.

Coyne, now a businessman, said that having “the right people” was the key to success in more than just football.

“You think about life lessons. “I talk about business with people and in the presentation, when I talk about that attempt, I say it’s important to have the right people in the right roles,” Coyne told AAP.

“That particular attempt is a clear demonstration that we had the right people in the right positions at the right time.

“Origin is about your preparation and mentality.

“You have to be prepared. I always had a pretty good mental approach to the game, so I was ready to go.

“There were about 12 minutes left when I came on the field. The origin is very fast. I had to fit right into the game.”

The Maroons have the right people ahead of Wednesday night’s Origin series opener, also in Sydney.

Captain Daly Cherry-Evans and hooker Ben Hunt have been integral members of the Maroons team that has won three of the last four Origin series.

Just after Coyne entered the field in ’68th Within a minute the Maroons trailed 12-4. In Adelaide last year, in the first game, the Maroons trailed 18-16 with seven minutes remaining and had prop Thomas Flegler in the sin-bin, but late tries from Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Lindsay Collins won the game 26-18.

“The miraculous attempt means never giving up,” Cherry-Evans said.

“The closest I got to that experience was the first game last year in Adelaide. That was our moment.

“The chips were stacked against us and the right players at the right time came up with incredible plays for Queensland, whether it was Hammer on the wing or Lindsay chasing a bomb.

“It’s not as special as that miracle attempt, but it shows that we will never get out of this and that we will never stop trying. “That has been ingrained in us by former Queensland players who we are very proud of.”

Hunt is still impressed by the relentless appearance of each maroon in the miracle attempt.

“You look at that try and how many hands he went through and there were guys that kept coming up and putting themselves on the scene,” Hunt said.

“It was the Queensland spirit of never giving up. Over the years, guys have gone into action when they weren’t ready, but they went out and did their job.”

Maroons legend Mark Coyne, flanked by Adrian Lam and Wayne Bartrim. (Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images)

Coyne, a regular center for St George, had replaced injured full-back Julian O’Neill. He played the ball at the beginning of the movement on the right wing. He saw center Renouf slide down the left touchline and knew his chance would come on the right end.

“As a center I was pretty good at counting numbers,” he recalled.

“Pearl (Renouf) made that break and threw it in. I could see that if the ball came to me I would have a chance because NSW would eventually run out of numbers.

“The ball kept coming and going. When it came to Mal I thought, ‘beautiful.’ I’m going to have a fair shot at this. Mal gave it to me and Freddy Fittler flew out to pick me up. He had a pretty good step with his right foot, so everything fell into place.”

Coyne had roomed all week with benchmate Mark Hohn and they joked that they didn’t get any questions from the media throughout camp.

“I scored that try. So everyone wanted to talk to me,” Coyne smiled.

“It’s pretty special in Origin folklore how we came back and scored at the buzzer to win. It’s a nice thing to be remembered for.

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“I’m not on social media, but my kids keep sending me memes that people post about it. He still has a career. “It’s hard to believe it was 30 years ago.”

The Blues came back to win the 1994 series with victories in Melbourne and Brisbane.

“Most people forget it. When NSW people here criticize me for that attempt, I remind them not to get too upset,” she chuckled.

Coyne played 19 times for the Maroons and was a key figure in their 3-0 series victory in 1995.

“I got to play for Australia, which was really cool, but Origin was a really exciting thing growing up in Queensland,” he said.

“I loved going to games and seeing Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga and Choppy Close. Putting on the jersey was an incredible feeling and it meant everything.”

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