Fans have hailed Maroons great Allan Langer for a marvellous gesture towards Boyd Cordner after the Blues skipper’s was floored late in his side’s Origin series win.
The NSW captain emerged from the sheds just moments before the full-time siren on Sunday to be on hand as the Blues claimed just their second series win in 13 years with an 18-14 victory.
Cordner almost missed the celebrations after coming off with concussion following a collision with Sydney Roosters teammate Dylan Napa when the series was in the balance late in the match.
“I can’t really remember the last 12 minutes to tell you the truth,” he told AAP.
What will live long in the memory was a classy moment from Langer that flew in the face of the traditional hatred often spoke of between the two states.
The Maroons great was first on the scene to help Cordner after the force of Napa’s hip to his head, left the NSW captain groggy and sprawled on the ANZ Stadium turf.
Langer showed genuine concern for the stricken Blues enforcer and was praised for fans for his tremendous sportsmanship.
— Chris Warren (@ChrisWarreNRL) June 24, 2018
— Pete Fairbairn (@Pete_Fairbairn) June 24, 2018
— Jake Michael Thompson (@JMThompson95) June 24, 2018
— Nathaniel Eldridge (@fanno36) June 24, 2018
Alfie Langer is a star ⭐️ – good sporting example as trainer with concern for players no matter what side in tonight’s #Origin
— Caroline Carter (@CCarter163) June 24, 2018
“The game is slowly coming back to me,” Cordner told reporters after the win.
“I remember collecting Napa’s hip pretty heavily so I had to come off. Before that Jimmy Roberts had just got sent to the sin bin.”
That was when the Blues were up by four and the Maroons were closing fast.
However Cordner clearly recalls the feeling he had about the team before the lights went out after getting caught in an awkward position to tackle Napa.
“You look around and we just knew we were going to hold on,” he said.
“It was an unreal performance by the boys and to hang in there and wrap the series up at home.
“I went to the sheds and then with a minute to go we had the ball and I walked back onto the sideline.”
Cordner, who was awarded just the second penalty try in Origin history after being taken out by Ben Hunt in the first half, had more metres than any other Blues forward and was man of the match.
And while he missed almost the entire grandstand finish, he was quick to recall how former Blues coach Phil Gould made the shock pre-series call that Cordner was the wrong man to captain the state.
“I copped a bit of criticism at the start of the year but I was very comfortable in the way I was playing footy and the way I could turn up and lead these boys,” Cordner said.
He also hadn’t forgotten the motivation of avenging the heartbreaking defeat in game two last year when the Blues threw a late lead that left him in tears.
“There’s just so many different emotions right now. I’m happy but relieved,” he said.
“We were sitting here 12 months ago, we just lost this game on the bell. It was the worst I’ve felt after a loss. But it drove me even more to come back and want to win.
“To come back the way we did and put in that performance, I’m lost for words.”