LETTER: More than a game

AS QUEENSLAND'S half back from 1967-1969, Bundaberg's Col Reynolds played through some of the darkest days of the Maroons' representative history.


The world Cooper Cronk lives in is a far cry from the alien landscape Reynolds endured playing for his state.


In 2016 Cronk is ushered to the ground in air-conditioned comfort, whereas Reynolds used to take a cab to where he was about to play - and escorted in through a side gate so he wouldn't be sledged by his own supporters.


Cronk's jersey is emblazoned with the game's details on the front and would surely be held with pride at his home, unlike Reynolds's which was collected after each match by the property steward.


The biggest difference is in what they were paid.


Reynolds took home a total of $155 from his six games for Queensland in 1969, which included $30 match fee for playing New South Wales, whereas Cronk's earnings for the annual series is in the tens of thousands.


You might think I'm about to launch into a scathing attack on the current-day pretty boys who do it easy compared to the old gladiators, but I'm not.


Adding to that you might also think Reynolds sits in his lounge room watching the State Of Origin games wishing he played in 2016 and not in the 1960s, but he doesn't.


To these men, Reynolds and Cronk, each game isn't about the money they are paid to perform, it's about something much more.


Reynolds said to me he knew there was pride in the maroon jersey since 1900; he continued that tradition and the latest Queensland team carries that on.


I could see win in Origin II meant the world to the Maroons, the sheer joy they displayed after the 80 minutes was obvious, and it was my highlight for the night.


I think about Reynolds running out on to Lang Park knowing he was on a hiding to nothing in the 60s playing against men like Artie Beetson and Graham Langlands.


And to me that is what sport is about.


It's the fight you show when you're up against a strong opposition, it's coming back for more after being belted physically and mentally and it's about doing your absolute best for your teammates.


It matters little what level you're playing and even less if you win or lose, if you do those things I just mentioned I am sure you will enjoy your sport now and long into the future.



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