It’s the fiery debate that divides Rugby League circles but True Blue Steve Mortimer has slammed the assumption that Queensland have more passion than NSW as “bull****.”
The Origin-winning captain blasted the theory after touring the NSWRL’s Centre of Excellence on Tuesday, where his iconic image at full-time of Game II of the 1985 series was unveiled as the centrepiece to the entrance of the facility.
Mortimer said the world-class building is a testament to the passion that NSW has invested in recent years and marks the dawn of a new era for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues.
“I’m very passionate in my football and I’m even more passionate than those Queenslanders about wanting to win,” Mortimer told NSWRL.com.au
“We have just as much passion (as Queensland) and you can see (that) by where we are.
“I think there is going to be a big change for the betterment of NSWRL in the Origin series.
“We will change, also, to go to every town and city in NSW and go to the schools, and tell them what Rugby League is like and how it’s the greatest game of all.”
While the image of Mortimer basking in the glory of an Origin victory is etched in Rugby League folklore, the former halfback was more humble about the special moment.
He says the photo is symbolic of the efforts of his team-mates who played that evening - and every other player who has ever worn a sky blue jumper.
“What I'm doing is representing everyone that was around me and the coach (Terry Fearnley) and the guys on the sideline,” Mortimer said.
“We were all on. In other words, there is no such thing as the one, it’s about everyone - in particular the 17 blokes we had in 1985.”
Mortimer won four premierships with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in a career that spanned 254 first-grade games, and has high hopes for the club in 2019 as they boast plenty of young talent.
He is certain coach Dean Pay is the right man to lead them to success, and believes one player more than any other will thrive under his guidance.
“I do believe that we’ll get in the top 8 and we’ll work hard to get in the top 8,” Mortimer said.
“I love the players that we’ve bought and we've also got Wally Lewis' nephew, Lachlan, and he’s a great player but also a lovely person.
“We’ve got Benji Marshall’s little brother, (Jeremy Marshall-King), so we’re getting all these relationships to great footballers and I just think we’re gonna have a good year.
“Dean (Pay) is a wonderful bloke – he's a country boy and I still think the best footballers and coaches come from the country.”