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Legend Q&A: Jamie Goddard

He's best remembered for knocking Andrew Johns to the ground in an Origin brawl but Jamie Goddard achieved a lot more in his rugby league career.

The crafty hooker left his home town of Mt Isa in 1992 hoping to play one game in the big league and retired a decade later with 160 under his belt while also representing the Maroons four times in the State of Origin arena.

NRL.com has dusted off this Legend Q&A from the Rugby League Week vault, which was first published on May 26, 2016.

Jamie Goddard: Legend Q&A

  • Born: 18/7/1972 in Mt Isa, Queensland
  • Debut: Round 8, 1992
  • Gold Coast v Parramatta at Seagulls Stadium
  • Career games: 160: Gold Coast (86 games from 1992-98), North Sydney (24 games in 1999); Northern Eagles (50 games from 2000-02)
  • Representative games: Queensland (Four from 1997-98)
Jamie Goddard makes a run for the Gold Coast Chargers against Manly in 1997.
Jamie Goddard makes a run for the Gold Coast Chargers against Manly in 1997. ©NRL Photos

As an outback Queensland bloke, was it hard for you to adjust to life on the Gold Coast when you joined the Seagulls?

When I moved down there Kevin Campion and I lived together. We knew each other from North Queensland and we’d played against each other so he became my best mate and that made it easier. But we were 19 years of age and used to the bush.

When we moved into a townhouse in Tweed Heads, which is by no means a big city, we used to have steering locks on our steering wheels, thinking that everyone was going to try and steal our cars. We were sleeping on mattresses on the floor and ‘Campo’ had a little pocket knife and I had a baseball bat beside me in case someone was going to break in.

Jamie Goddard played all three games of the 1997 Origin series.
Jamie Goddard played all three games of the 1997 Origin series. ©NRL Photos

It’s well documented that the three clubs you played for – Gold Coast, Norths and Northern Eagles – all folded. How tough was that?

Some see it as bad luck but I took it from a different point of view. I think back to when I first left Mt Isa and I left a couple of my motorbikes up there with one of my best mates, and I said to him, ‘Look after these, I’ll be back in a year’.

I was never going to leave Mt Isa. But in ’92 I played a couple of games off the bench in first grade and then we played Great Britain and to me I just wanted to play one game of first grade, so to eventually go on and play as many games as I did, and to play for Queensland, I consider myself very lucky.

Without being too critical of what happened with the Bears, I just think they made some poor decisions at the top level in that last year in ’99 . . . You can’t fathom how a foundation club is no longer in the competition. It’s really sad, to be honest.

That fight with Joey Johns in Game Three of the ’97 Origin series is regularly brought up around this time of year. What do you remember about it?

It was probably one of the luckiest punches ever. Before that actual scrap he hit me late off the ball and we had a little scuffle on the ground. But Mark Carroll was the one that initially knocked out our front-rower Craig Smith, so he was the one who started it, and then obviously Joey and I found each other.

We got broken up and then Joey came round the side of the touch judge, from memory, and like I said, I got him with a lucky one. We both got sin-binned and we walked off together and after the game we swapped jerseys and it was all forgiven. These things happen on the field.

Jamie Goddard and Kevin Walters celebrate winning game three in 1998.
Jamie Goddard and Kevin Walters celebrate winning game three in 1998. ©NRL Photos

‘Spud’ Carroll was never shy about throwing them. What was the background to that?

As soon as they heard the word ‘Queenslander’ their call was ‘Cattledog’, so they were yelling out, and then ‘Spud’ – you know what he’s like – his eyes were like poker machines, he was ready to knock someone out.

Funny that, too, because two tackles before, ‘Spud’ took a hit-up and knocked our prop Clinton O’Brien out fair and square. Clinton was getting dragged off the field on the other side when NSW dropped the ball on the second tackle.

So Craig Smith ran on to get into the scrum for Clinton O’Brien and as soon as he packed in, ‘Spud’ knocked him out – poor old Smithy got belted.

You showed some form. Did you have boxing experience?

We had a guy across the road from us in Mt Isa named Alan Wehrman, an Aboriginal guy. He had a big boxing ring in his yard and he used to run boxing training over there and all local kids, and all my mates, used to fight out the back in his ring.

So we had a great upbringing. A lot of good boxers have come out of Mt Isa, so I didn’t really get involved in the sport but I just did plenty of training with them.

Were there any repercussions for you and Joey?

Because we were both in the ARL at the time, Geoff Bellew, the great man, represented both of our clubs (at the judiciary).

We actually had a quick meeting, all three of us together, and I said to him, ‘Mate, how’s this going to work, you’re defending me, you’re defending him, who’s right and who’s wrong? Someone’s got to be the accused?’ And he said, ‘Nah mate, no one is getting suspended for fighting, don’t worry. Leave it to me, I’ve got you covered’.

Jamie Goddard, Andrew Gee and Ben Ikin with the Origin shield in 1998.
Jamie Goddard, Andrew Gee and Ben Ikin with the Origin shield in 1998. ©NRL Photos

We went in there and it was over and done with in about 15 minutes, we both got two weeks and as we walked out I said, ‘Well, that went well, Geoff’. We got charged for striking and they gave us two weeks and Spud Carroll got away with it. It was ridiculous.

Was the highlight of your career being a part of the Maroons win the ’98 decider?

Yeah, that was incredible. It goes without saying that a lot of players weren’t available for the ’97 series (because of Super League) so to be called up for the decider in ’98 was special.

I guess it felt a bit better to be able to say you were picked out of every club and every player. Jason Hetherington played hooker the first two games and I got picked ahead of him in the third.

Was there some serious pressure?

Yeah, there was, but Wayne Bennett was so good at controlling players’ emotions and getting them right for kick-off. He basically called me straight away and said he’d chosen me for what I’d been doing.

He got my confidence up and got me to believe in myself. He just said, ‘Keep it simple, Jamie, don’t change what you’ve been doing’ and that reassured me.

Jamie Goddard in 2002 with the Northern Eagles in the final season of his NRL career.
Jamie Goddard in 2002 with the Northern Eagles in the final season of his NRL career. ©NRL Photos

You’ve lived on the NSW Central Coast since the end of your playing days . . .

I was always going to go back to Queensland. I was never going to stay in NSW for the rest of my life, but my oldest boy was going to high school (when I retired) and my daughter was getting settled in school, so we stayed, and we love it.

I started a career in real estate and now I’ve had my own business with a partner for the last 10 years. I’ve also been involved with the Terrigal Sharks since I was coaching my eldest son’s under-6 team while I was still playing, so that’s close to 20 years ago.

I coached the first grade here for a couple of years and now I’ve taken a step back and I’m just on the committee and a proud sponsor.