Queensland's chances of retaining the 2008 State of Origin series received a timely boost from the highest level possible today.

Ahead of Queensland's "do or die" game against New South Wales in a fortnight, the Prime Minister, Hon. Kevin Rudd, agreed to become Patron for the Queensland Former Origin Greats (FOGS) organisation.

And for good measure, the Federal Treasurer, Hon. Wayne Swan another Queenslander has accepted the position of Vice Patron.

Both Mr Rudd and Mr Swan were both presented with their awards by FOGS Deputy Chairman, John Ribot at the spiritual home of Rugby League in Queensland and venue for State of Origin game two on 11 June, Suncorp Stadium.

On hand to witness the occasion were four Queenslanders who were recently named in the Australian Rugby League Team of the Century Wally Lewis, Arthur Beetson, Mal Meninga and Noel "Ned" Kelly. The fifth Queenslander named in the team, Duncan Hall, was represented by his son, Duncan Hall Junior.

Mr Rudd's and Mr Swan's first duty as FOGS Patron and Vice Patron was to present the five Rugby League legends with certificates of achievement recognising their selection.

Mr Rudd commended the role FOGS played in the Queensland community.

Mr Ribot said that in addition to raising funds for charities and other important projects, FOGS had supported the North Queensland community in their hour of need following the devastation of Cyclone Larry in 2006.

"FOGS is also a major contributor to the ongoing development of Rugby League throughout the State, including sponsorship of the QRL's South East Division's A Grade and Colts competitions, as well as mentoring in indigenous communities throughout the State," Mr Ribot said.

The activities of FOGS are overseen by a committee chaired by Dick "Tosser" Turner and comprising former players John Ribot, Rod Morris, Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga, Chris Close, Gene Miles, Greg Oliphant, Gavin Allen and Trevor Gillmeister.

Friday 30 May 2008

Further information: Greg Adermann (Suncorp Stadium) 0419 729972 or Gene Miles (FOGS) 0411 364429