Origin dream began in Warwick for Billy Moore

Billy Moore loves Origin, one and off the field.
Billy Moore loves Origin, one and off the field. Cade Mooney

THE Queenslander chant of Wallangarra sporting legend Billy Moore might not be part of State of Origin folklore except for an under-18 game at Father Ranger Oval in 1986.

Yesterday, Billy recalled going to a game between Millmerran Institute and Warwick Cowboys to watch his brother Robert play.

"My brother was a train guard at Inglewood and players from Inglewood were helping fill teams for Millmerran, my parents took me to the game," he said.

"Robert was injured after 10 minutes and gave me his boots to go on as they then only had 12 players. I was 15 at the time and can't remember the score but thought I had a decent game."

Billy then played rugby league for Tenterfield in Group 19 and schoolboys' rugby league for Stanthorpe State High School and then the Queensland Schoolboys. As a junior, he played in the Warwick and District Junior Rugby League competition.

State of Origin rules at the time stated that players were eligible to play for the state where they played their first senior footy.

The 1986 game at Father Ranger Oval was the game which made Billy a Queenslander for Origin, even if he had no intention of playing for the Blues.

"The game in Warwick sealed the deal, the late, great Peter Jackson made a few phone calls to make sure I was eligible for Queensland," Billy said.

"I lived 50 metres from the border in a home my family still owns and ran a book on the result for four years at Wallangarra," he said.

After a lot of success in his hobby which went well due to his proximity to the border, Billy said the 1985 result wiped him out from a bookmaking perspective.

"I was a passionate Queenslander and there was plenty of rivalry, during daylight saving I could walk 100 metres from home and the time changed."

Billy has fond memories of life at Wallangarra.

His mother, the late Joan Moore, had the netball courts named after her at Wallangarra after playing A-grade to age 52.

"I coached a netball team at Wallangarra when I was 17," he said.

"It was a good way to meet the girls. We didn't win but the team was very competitive.

"The coaching at Wallangarra was one of the great experiences of my life."

Billy became an Origin superstar when he yelled out "Queenslander" running out for the Maroons in 1995 in a series where the Blues were red-hot favourites after Super League decimated the Maroons.

With the shock Maroons 3-0 series win in 1995 never far from his mindset, Billy has a simple message for the Maroons as they approach tonight's decider.

"Don't give a sucker an even break and don't disrespect the opposition and empower them because everyone thinks they can't win," Billy said.

"I am not going to say the Blues can't win, players like Luke Lewis, Greg Bird and Robbie Farah will lift with the crowd behind them."

In Origin 1, Billy says the Blues played the best he can remember.

"When Queensland was coming home strongly after 65 minutes, the New South Wales crowd went quiet."

Billy returned to the rugby league spotlight when he repeated the Queenslander chant before Origin 2 at Suncorp Stadium. He admits he was nervous and for a second or two thought he might forget the two lines. "I did 100 push-ups and looked at myself in a mirror and said enjoy the moment. I enjoyed every minute of it."

Away from Origin, Billy now works five days a week in Augellos restaurant on the Sunshine Coast after becoming a part-owner. "I take time off to go to Sydney to win Origin shields," he said.

Augellos is only one block from his first restaurant venture, Earth.

His other rugby league involvement in 2013 is coach of the junior team of one of his sons at Maroochydore. "You get 10 seconds to entertain the under-7 kids before you lose their attention," he said. "They are improving ... it is good to watch the young fellows."