The XXXX will flow in the Maroons sheds if they win another State of Origin series this year. Photo: Adam Head
The XXXX will flow in the Maroons sheds if they win another State of Origin series this year. Photo: Adam Head

Maroons to defy XXXX beer ban

MAROONS legend Trevor Gillmeister has guaranteed that the Queensland Origin team will mark the end of the series with a cold XXXX, even if the other 50,000 people at Suncorp Stadium cannot.

Thirty years after the first beer war broke out at Lang Park and the Origin arena was showered with full cans of XXXX, a sponsorship agreement with Calrton United Breweries means that Great Northern will supplant XXXX as Queensland's beer of choice.

Everywhere, that is, except in the Maroons sheds at full-time.

"I'd be very surprised if there wasn't," Gillmeister told foxsports.com.au when asked whether XXXX would make it into the sheds after Game Three. I would be 99.9 per cent certain that would be the case.

"Everything now comes down to the corporate dollar.

"People move on. They'll go to the Caxton and the 'Paddo' and have their beers there.

"If they're serving cold beer there they'll still buy it."

The unusual situation has arisen with a new sponsorship agreement that CUB has struck with the NRL, flying in the face of the individual beer partnerships that both Queensland and New South Wales have struck with Lion Nathan.

Former referee Barry Gomersall with a XXXX in the stands at Lang Park; the most Queensland photo ever taken.
Former referee Barry Gomersall with a XXXX in the stands at Lang Park; the most Queensland photo ever taken.

A member of Kevin Walters' Queensland coaching staff, Gillmeister was on the field the only time that XXXX made its way from the stands onto the actual playing surface.

With Game Two of the 1988 series in the balance, referee Mick Stone banished 'The King' Wally Lewis to the sin bin for dissent after hooker Greg Conescu had already been sin-binned.

All hell broke loose as enraged Queenslanders showered the field with cans of their favourite nectar, Gillmeister seeing the funny side after initial fears for his safety.

"I remember thinking, 'Shit, this is not real good, they're throwing full cans'," said Gillmeister, who played 22 matches for the Maroons.

Brisbane’s initial sponsorship with Power Brewing caused great angst with the QRL and Lang Park.
Brisbane’s initial sponsorship with Power Brewing caused great angst with the QRL and Lang Park.

"I had a bit of a giggle to myself to be honest.

"You don't sin bin 'The King' in Queensland."

Of more interest to Gillmesiter is the irony of XXXX being kicked out of the spiritual home of rugby league in Queensland 30 years since the Sunshine State's original 'beer war' broke out.

When the Brisbane Broncos entered the competition in 1988 they were sponsored by Power Brewing but XXXX's agreement with Lang Park meant that Power could not be advertised or sold at the ground.

The Broncos and Queensland Rugby League were at loggerheads for years over the issue until the 1992 premiers moved to QEII Stadium south of the city, where they were based for the following 10 seasons.

"If you go back to the early days of the Broncos we were sponsored by Power's when they first kicked off, said Gillmeister, who played 72 games for the Broncos from 1991-93.

"XXXX got the shits because they had the license at Lang Park so the Broncos went to ANZ Stadium because of the beer war.

"It's come back to bite them on the arse.

"It's kind of ironic that XXXX are now being punted out of there when they punted Power's out years ago."