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Behind Origin great’s iconic middle finger salute to Gus Gould


Queensland rugby league great Chris ‘Choppy’ Close has given an insight into his iconic middle-finger salute to former New South Wales coach Phil Gould in one of the most memorable State of Origin moments in history.

Fuelled by comments from Gould in the lead up to the 2005 series, the Maroons would go on to steal game one at Suncorp Stadium after Matt Bowen intercepted a pass from Brett Kimmorley in extra time to seal a 24-20 victory to take a 1-0 lead.

The iconic Bowen try was followed up by another iconic Origin moment when Close - hugging Queensland stars Petero Civoniceva, the late Carl Webb and Michael Crocker – turned his attention to Gould and stuck up his middle finger at the former Blues coach.

Captured on camera, the moment quickly made its way into Queensland Origin folklore.

“Gus Gould always had the gall to, whenever he got an opportunity, he had the gal to question the Queensland spirit,” Close, who played 14 games for Queensland, said on Breakfast SENQ.

“At times he called it a myth, it didn’t exist, those things really stuck (with me).

“Often times on the sports shows after the games, even when we won he would attack the Queensland team and obviously that year was no different.

“Matty Bowen got the intercept and away he went and I remember Gus had been pretty outspoken that year and as soon as he hit the ball on the ground I just looked over at Gus and shot my middle finger up at him and (said) ‘one-nil mate’.”

Close said he was sticking up for every Queenslander.

“It really did have a lasting legacy because I think I was acting on behalf of every other Queenslander at that moment in my life and when I shot that finger up to New South Wales and particularly to Gus Gould – I think everyone could resonate with that," he said.

Queensland would go on to lose that series 2-1 before going on a streak of eight series wins in a row the following year.

State of Origin Queensland New South Wales

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