In the State of Origin arena where he carved his legend, Wally Lewis enjoyed the perfect farewell courtesy of a 14-12 triumph in the deciding game of the 1991 series in front of his adoring Lang Park disciples.
But the Queensland icon’s last seasons at club level were comparatively understated, ousted from the Brisbane Broncos at the end of 1990 and linking up with the lowly Gold Coast Seagulls.
‘The King’ retired from representative football in ’91, but suited up for the Seagulls – the competition’s reigning wooden spooners – the following season as the last-ever captain-coach in first grade rugby league.
Gold Coast’s 1992 campaign wasn’t a successful one, winning just six games to finish last once again. Lewis nevertheless bowed out in fitting style.
The Seagulls upset defending premiers Penrith at Tweed Heads in a final-round clash, with Lewis scoring the winning try in a 12-8 boilover.
Lewis stayed on as coach of the Seagulls, but they won just one game in a diabolical 1993 campaign. He coached Queensland to 2-1 losses in the 1993-94 Origin series – including an unforgettable last-minute win at the SFS in the opening game of the latter – before reverting to more cushy media roles.
The influential playmaker was named at five-eighth in the ARL Team of the Century in 2008.