Norm Carr (left) with Greg Oliphant and John McDonald. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Norm Carr (left) with Greg Oliphant and John McDonald. Picture: Mark Cranitch

A cold beer with . . . Qld footballer with memorable life

A MAGPIE and Panther warrior went from Inala to Wests Panthers and Souths Magpies in a career that spanned over 10 years and three premierships.

Norm Carr played for Queensland and Brisbane then when Origin kicked off he was there night one.

I sat down with a beer and we talked about a league life that takes some beating.

Origin is 40 years old this year. What is your favourite memory from those early years? We had a belief instilled in us from the players that came back from Sydney, Beetson, Lang, Reddy, Boustead, Smith, Morris and Oliphant their message was simple you can beat these Blues.

Two memories I have from that night was Rohan Hancock got hurt and John McDonald has said warm up and I am sitting there freezing with two tracksuits on in Brisbane in July just hoping Rohan gets up. I said I do not want to go on. I look back now and wish I had just jumped up and said take him off.


Rohan Hancock and Rod Morris celebrate Queensland's 11-7 win in 1982. Picture: Jim Fenwick
Rohan Hancock and Rod Morris celebrate Queensland's 11-7 win in 1982. Picture: Jim Fenwick

Bruce Astill and I spent the whole 80 minutes on the bench, which was not abnormal in 1980, but it would have been nice to get on the field. But I did not know that at the time I was just thinking how cold it was that night.

I swapped my jumper too with Steve Martin from Manly so I do not have the original Queensland Origin jumper but maybe I could swap Martin back again one day. I still have his first Origin jumper.


Norm Carr
Norm Carr

Your representative career is a contrast - 11 games for Queensland before Origin and no wins, three Origins for three wins. Yeah they were not easy days for Queensland but people look at our record and think Queensland was beaten again but for most of the game, we were in the contest. It was fitness that let us down. If Brisbane football was a step behind Sydney, country football is going to be a step behind again and we had some country guys.

In addition, NSW had Michael Cronin who was turning every three points into five points; we did not always have anyone of that calibre kicking goals. All those extra two points can mean beaten by 10.

Souths in 1985, how did you go playing against Wests? I was at the end of my career at Souths so I did not get too emotional about playing against Wests. I was not going out there to beat Wests just play well and outdo my opponent.

How were you convinced to go to Souths? They were a young team and they had been badly beaten 42-8 by Wynnum in 1984. I think Wayne Bennett had a change in attitude from 1984 to 1985 and he decided he needed a few old heads in there to turn it around. I think Eddie Muller was the only survivor from 1984's pack.

It is not dissimilar to the Broncos now. They just need a Chris Phelan in there.

Which premiership is your favourite - 1975, 1976 with Wests or 1985 with the Magpies? They are all special when you win a grand final. I suppose for different reasons, in 1975 and 1976 I was young only 20 years old, came into grade in a great team, and got to win two in a row, which then meant I could be picked for Queensland. In 1985, I was 30 and at the end and bowing out with a great win with Souths.

Who is a player that you think didn't ever get the accolades he deserves? Chris Phelan. I mean the word great or legend is used a lot but Phelan should always have it after his name; look at Phelan's record.

He is in Brisbane and wins a grand final with Souths in 1981 and a Rothmans Medal after losing to Norths in 1980 but he leaves. He does not just leave to have a crack at Sydney he leaves and joins the Eels, the hottest ticket in town and wins another two grand finals and plays in three grand finals. Often over looked too is he left here a lock and plays front row for Parramatta.

He leaves the Eels, comes back to Souths in Brisbane, and wins a grand final here. What are we up to now six grand finals in a row in Brisbane and Sydney for four wins? Just an unbelievable contribution to teams.

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