Sydney Western Suburbs prop forward Noel Kelly, one of the toughest men ever to pull on a rugby league jersey, once described what it was like playing the invincible St George Dragons in the days of unlimited tackles. “For the first half, they’d let you have the ball and just beat you up,” he said. “Then, after half-time, they’d take the ball and score as many times as they wanted. Simple as that.”
One of the hardest nails in that Dragons pack was the late Parkes, Forbes and Eugowra hooker Ian Walsh, who rose to captain both St George and his country. Walsh would have certainly approved of the way that the NSW tough men laid the groundwork for a memorable victory against Queensland in this year’s second State of Origin match, and he’ll be crawling out of his grave to watch a repeat performance from the Blues forwards in the series decider in Brisbane next Wednesday.