Billy Moore takes to marathons

Former Queensland State of Origin player Billy Moore, in Emerald to support a local business, joked blue wasn’t nearly as appealing as maroon.
Former Queensland State of Origin player Billy Moore, in Emerald to support a local business, joked blue wasn’t nearly as appealing as maroon. Sam Woods

FORMER Queensland Maroon and North Sydney club veteran Billy Moore said tackling every day challenges has been a life-long pursuit. It was what made him who he is.

But even this one has the 17-game State of Origin lock forward wondering whether he has bitten off more than he can chew.

The loveable larrikin of rugby league's 1990s is set to run the world famous New York Marathon on November 4.

"I've lost eight or nine kilos but pounding the road is different to being pounded by a 110kg forward," Moore told the Central Queensland News during a weekend stopover in Emerald to support Devcon Building Co's open home display.

"The acute pain is less in a marathon - the only thing is it is three and a half hours and 42.4256km.

"Three hours thirty is a non-negotiable time for my first and only marathon. It's a bit under five minutes a kilometre which most reasonably fit people can do."

"The only thing is, can you do 42 of them back to back?"

Moore is the first to admit he will probably never be considered as a record-setting road runner but a spontaneous shout of 'Queenslander' while running out the tunnel for the 1995 State of Origin series is something he hoped he will always be remembered for.

"One thing I'm so proud of is the Queenslander call I did in 1995," he said.

"All humility aside, I was a good footballer, I wasn't a great player, but that call has perpetuated my place in the game in State of Origin.

"I did that 17 years ago if you can believe that. Year 12s weren't even born when I said that. It's given me a sort of currency - young people know who I am.

"I was at that sort of playing standard where only the real footy heads would remember who I was, but because of that origin call I did, it allows me to transcend time a bit.

"It was one call but the greatest thing I did in my life I think. I played 200-odd first grade games, 17 origins, you do all these other things and you're remembered for 10 seconds."

The passion for the game and his state was something that was ingrained since an early age - growing up on the border town of Wallangarra, barely 50m in Queensland territory - it was the perfect breeding ground for an interstate rivalry still as strong as ever.

"I spent the first 17 years of my life on guard duty stopping the NSW coming over the border," he joked.

"Because I lived so close to the border you are really passionate and aware of it."

Something now seldom seen in modern rugby league, Moore spent his entire 10-year playing career with just one club - the now defunct North Sydney Bears. After retiring young at 28 years old, Moore settled in the warmth of the Sunshine Coast with a misguided ambition of running a restaurant.

"I was always coming to Queensland but I couldn't go back home because it was too cold," he said.

"I got involved in the hospitality industry and ran my own restaurant and wine bar for seven years, which was an experience, let's just say that … it was an experience.

"Hand on my heart I say rugby league was difficult, running a restaurant was twice as hard. Anyone who is thinking about doing it - don't. It's just too risky. One in a 100 makes money. I ended up making money out of it, I was proud of it, but I got out of it and I'll never go back."

In next Friday's CQ News, Moore explains why his experiences in the game are so important to today's generation. He also delves deep on the future of State of Origin.

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