Mark Coyne (rugby league)
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|Born||16 August 1967|
|Source: Rugby League Project and Yesterday's Hero|
Mark Coyne (born 16 August 1967) is an Australian former rugby league footballer, a state and national representative player. His club career was with the St. George Dragons and the merged St George Illawarra Dragons - he captained both sides. He played principally at centre but sometimes as a winger in his notable representative career. He was also the brother of another first grade footballer, Peter Coyne.
A Queenslander, Coyne was graded with the Brothers club in Brisbane, playing for them in the Grand Final of the 1987 Brisbane Rugby League Grand Final and scoring a try. He then relocated to the St George Dragons in Sydney in 1988. He made his first grade debut in 1989 and impressed with his trademark right foot step.
In Round 14 of the 1991 season, Coyne became the first player to score a try on the famous Adelaide Oval in the first NSWRL premiership match played in South Australia. On a cold and wet night in June, the Dragons defeated the Balmain Tigers 16-2 in front of 28,884 fans, the largest attendance of the 1991 minor round.
In 1992 Coyne played in the Dragons 28-8 Grand Final loss to the Brisbane Broncos. Coyne played in the 1993 Grand Final for the Dragons where once again they went down to the Broncos 14-6. 1994 saw Coyne take on the role as captain of St. George, a year when the Dragons failed to make the finals.
Coyne's leadership capabilities were fully acknowledged in 1995 when he was captain of St. George, vice captain of Queensland and made his Test debut for the Kangaroos. 1996 saw Coyne lead the Dragons to another Grand Final, but despite playing a great game himself the Dragons went down controversially to the Manly Sea Eagles 20-8.
In 1998 Coyne was honoured with a testimonial year at St. George and impressively, he chose to donate all the proceeds of that testimonial season to a children's charity.
Coyne retired in 1999, whilst playing for the St. George Illawarra Dragons (a joint venture of the St. George Dragons and the Illawarra Steelers) and after 12 seasons wearing the Dragons' Big Red V. By the end of his career he had played in 9 Test matches; 19 Origins and over 200 first grade matches, of which over 100 were as captain.
Coyne made his State of Origin debut in game II of 1990 for Queensland, after impressive performances in the centres for his club. Mark had to bide his time and wait another two years before being selected for Queensland in games II and III of 1992. In game II that year Coyne popped up a great pass to send Billy Moore over for a try. Queensland went on to win the match 5-4. In 1993 Coyne played in all three games and set up a try for Mal Meninga in game II.
1994 would ultimately provide the most memorable of Coyne's State of Origin appearances and enabled his entry to the annals of Maroon and Origin folklore. In game I, with Queensland down 12-10 and 40 seconds left on the clock, from deep in their own half the Maroons started one of the most memorable try-scoring movements. Allan Langer handled the ball twice in the 11-pass sequence which was finished when Coyne extended his arm in the right corner to thwart the last ditched defensive efforts of Brad Fittler and Ricky Stuart, breaking Blues' hearts in the process and winning the match in a heart-stopping finish. Although NSW went on to win the series 2-1, Channel 9 television commentator Ray "Rabbits" Warren famously stated in his call of the try "That's not a try that's a miracle".
Unfortunately for Coyne, St George suffered a severe downturn in form during the second half of the 1994 NSWRL season, though his own form was still good and he was considered unlucky to miss selection for the successful 1994 Kangaroo tour.
Loyal to the ARL during the Super League war Coyne was one of a handful of senior Queensland players available for representative honours that year and along with Trevor Gillmeister and Dale Shearer he brought experience and spirit to the young Queensland side and their novice coach Paul Vautin. History shows that Queensland won the 1995 Origin series 3-nil. Before the 1995 series, Vautin's relatively inexperienced Qld team were not even rated a chance of winning a game against a NSW team that had won the previous 3 Origin series, were coached by Phil Gould and could boast test players Brad Fittler, Tim Brasher, Rod Wishart, Paul McGregor, Greg Florimo, Mark Carroll, Brad Mackay, Geoff Toovey, and future stars Andrew Johns and Steve Menzies
His ARL loyalty was repaid when he made his Australian representative debut in the 1995 Trans-Tasman Test series against New Zealand and he played in the first two Tests of the series, only missing the final test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane through injury. The ARL only Kangaroos defeated the Kiwis 3-nill. Later that year he was selected in Australia's 1995 Rugby League World Cup squad, played in two pool games (including losing the opening game of the tournament to England at Wembley Stadium, London where he scored his first test try), the 30-20 extra-time semi-final win against New Zealand, and was a member of side that won the final against England 16-8 at Wembley Stadium, London.
He was a mainstay of Australian representative sides during the schismatic years of Super League and made further representative appearances against Papua New Guinea, Fiji and a Rest of the World side in 1997.
Coyne is currently part of the National Rugby League's judiciary panel and is Chairman of the NRL RLPA Education and Welfare Committee.
Mark Coyne is now married to Annie and have 3 children called Sophie Coyne, Elly and James
207 games for St. George
15 games for St. George Illawarra
19 games for Queensland (State of Origin)
9 games for the Australian Kangaroos
3 Grand Final appearances: 1992, 1993, 1996 (missed the 1999 Grand Final against the Melbourne Storm due to injury)
- Andrews, Malcolm (2006) The ABC of Rugby League Austn Broadcasting Corpn, Sydney
- Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney
- Whiticker, Alan & Hudson, Glen (2006) The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players, Gavin Allen Publishing, Sydney