|Full name||Laurie Joseph Spina|
21 May 1963 |
Ingham, Queensland, Australia
Laurie Joseph Spina (born 21 May 1963) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who currently works as a commentator. In 1995, Spina was the inaugural captain of the North Queensland Cowboys
Born in Ingham, Queensland, Spina was continually a stand-out player during his junior years in the Herbert River local league competition. His commitment and consistency landed him his first Foley Shield match against previous year title holders, Mount Isa. From that day Laurie Spina never looked back, taking out man of the match honours on his debut. He continued to represent Herbert River and was even a squad member of the undefeated Herbert River team in 1982 and that very remarkable drawn Foley Shield final in Townsville against Townsville.
North Sydney Bears
In 1983, Spina moved to Sydney, where he joined the North Sydney Bears in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership. He made his first grade debut as a 19-year old, coming off the bench in the Bears' 22-20 win over the Newtown Jets. The following week, he started at halfback and scored twice in the Bears' loss to Canberra. He would spend the rest of the season as North Sydney's starting halfback. During his two seasons with the Bears, he played 37 games and scored 11 tries.
Eastern Suburbs Roosters
In 1985, he joined moved to the Eastern Suburbs Roosters and would spend five seasons with the club. In his first season with the club, Spina started 23 of his 24 games at halfback. He was the starting halfback throughout the majority of his stint with the Roosters, starting 89 of his 99 games in the position.
In 1987, many judges thought Spina would represent Queensland in the 1987 State of Origin series after playing in a State of Origin trial played at Lang Park between a Queensland Residents team and a New South Wales-based Residents team. Playing for the New South Wales-based side, Spina played alongside Sam Backo, another Ingham product. He was widely thought to have had a better game than his opposite halfback, Ipswich's Allan Langer, but was sensationally left out of the Maroons' team for the series and never went on to play a game for them.
Spina moved to the Cronulla Sharks for the 1990 season. During his lone season at the Sharks, Spina played 22 games, starting at halfback in all of them, and scored five tries. At the end of the season, aged just 27, Spina returned to north Queensland to play for his former club, Herbert River.
North Queensland Cowboys
In 1995, at age 31, Spina returned to first grade, being named the inaugural captain of the newly-introduced North Queensland Cowboys in the Australian Rugby League competition. On 11 March 1995, He lead the side out for their first ever game, a 32-16 loss at home to the Canterbury Bulldogs. He captained the side in their first ever win, a 14-10 victory over the Illawarra Steelers in Wollongong. Spina retired at the end of the 1995 season, playing 13 games and scoring one try for the Cowboys.
Following his retirement, Spina became a commentator for the ABC Radio Grandstand in Townsville. Since 1996, the Laurie Spina Shield, a two-day carnival featuring a number of under-11 sides from around Australia, has been contested in Townsville. In 2016, the carnival featured 64 teams from around regional Queensland, southeast Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia.