Harragon likes look of the Blues
PAUL Harragon knows all about mateship.
Knows all about Origin too.
The man dubbed the “Chief” is the type of guy you want alongside you when the going gets tough.
One of the true hard men of rugby league, Harragon never took a backward step on the footy field and loved a contest.
Blood, guts, the whole dice.
So what does the former Newcastle and State of Origin legend think of the current Blues team, which has a chance tonight to put an end to the Maroons' Origin supremacy?
“Sure they can win,” Harragon told the Examiner with an air of confidence in his voice.
“But irrespective of the result New South Wales has turned the corner. One thing I know in my heart is the tide has turned.”
Harragon said New South Wales coach Ricky Stuart's influence on the current squad had been a major factor in the Blues' resurgence this season.
“Ricky is exceptional at creating an environment where players quickly grow into the Origin mentality,” he said.
“I'm actually expecting all the pressure to be on Queensland.”
For Harragon, playing State of Origin was the pinnacle of his illustrious career and when it comes to “mate against mate”, well, according to the Chief, mateship is no longer a part of the English dictionary.
“You actually go out of your way to give them a bit extra,” he said.
“You have them covered like a rash. Arthur Beetson set the tone in 1980, belting a few guys.”
And when it comes to playing in the ear-splitting arena of Suncorp Stadium (formally known as Lang Park), Harragon has fond memories.
“Lang Park was a blood-thirsty arena. We were spat on, cans were thrown at us and if you wore a Blues' jumper in the crowd you got belted,” he recalled.
“Now all the boys just love playing there. It's the best place to play.”
The Chief played 20 Origin games for his beloved state, but the one game that sticks out in his mind was the game III decider in 1992, which New South Wales won.
“We hadn't won for a long time and we had a new coach in Gus Gould and a new breed of players,” he said.
“Playing with guys like Laurie Daley, Bradley Clyde and winning was absolutely fantastic.”
Harragon and his Tooheys New Crew will be in Grafton on Friday, July 22 and Saturday July 23 to lend a hand for the construction of the new Rhinos' storage area and an indoor training facility. The concept of helping country clubs has really taken off,” Harragon said.
“We have highly skilled tradesmen who are used to deadlines.
“We aim to bring different parts of the community together and celebrate and tell a few stories after the work is complete.”