Rugby League Immortal and Brisbane Broncos legend Wally Lewis today joined Broncos CEO Bruno Cullen in paying tribute to one of the game's strongholds, Suncorp Stadium, with the unveiling of an ARL Centenary Plaque.
The plaque is one of almost 180 which have been unveiled at historical Rugby League sites around the country as part of the game's Centenary celebrations this year.
The home ground of the Brisbane Broncos since 1988, Lang Park as it was known was renamed to Suncorp Stadium in 1994. This year it will host the Rugby League World Cup Final on November 22 and the Semi Final on November 15.
Rugby League was first played at the venue in the 1930s before it hosted Brisbane Rugby League fixtures and major representative games from the 1950s.
But the ground was written into Rugby League folklore the night it hosted the inaugural State of Origin match in 1980. It was a match which saw the beginning of one of the greatest rivalries in any sport, but also the emergence of a 20-year-old in Lewis who would go on to become Origin's most dominant figure and the Broncos' first ever captain in 1988.
"My grandparents lived just 400 metres away from the ground, so it was a place I grew up in," Lewis said today.
"Little did I know back then that it was a place I would be spending a lot more time in on more serious occasions as an adult.
"For me it is all about atmosphere. They talk about the great grounds around the world having a special atmosphere.
"Well for me, this ground had a unique atmosphere of its own."
Speaking ahead of the Broncos' last regular season home game on Friday night, Cullen said the Broncos were proud to call Suncorp Stadium their home ground.
"This is the ground where we played our first game back in 1988, so it will always be historical for us," Cullen said.
"It is a wonderful stadium, probably the best rugby league ground in the world, and we are very happy to call it home."
The ARL Centenary Plaque laid at Suncorp Stadium today is one of 56 being unveiled at sites throughout country and metro Queensland which are historical to Rugby League.
Plaque unveilings have already taken place at venues such as the foundation site of the Queensland Rugby League ('Courier Mail Corner' in Queen St, Brisbane), the site of the first QRL headquarters in Roma Street, the Broncos' former home ground in ANZ Stadium (now known as Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre), Gold Coast Titans' home ground Skilled Park and a multitude of country venues including Ipswich's TC Seery Oval, Cloncurry Showgrounds, Roma's Arthur Beetson Oval and Rockhampton's Browne Park, to name a few.
Overall, the ARL will unveil a total of almost 180 plaques nationally by year's end to commemorate significant venues in the Rugby League's proud 100-year history.
For further information please contact ARL Media Manager Doug MacDougall on 0402 873 154.