Paul Vautin : biography
After reluctantly leaving Manly, he signed with the Eastern Suburbs Roosters for a two years (even spending time in reserve grade after being dropped by coach Mark Murray, a former Qld and Australian team mate), before retiring at the end of the 1991 NSWRL season. His last game for the out of contention Roosters was a 42-8 loss to eventual first time premiers Penrith at the Sydney Football Stadium on 25 August, the final round of the season.
Paul Vautin played in 238 first grade games from 1979 to 1991 (204 with Manly, 34 with Easts), scoring 21 tries, kicking 2 goals and 2 field goals.
State of Origin
It was at the State of Origin level where "Fatty" Vautin’s performances were most notable. Vautin himself has commented on the passion that would be ignited whenever he pulled on his State representative jumper. Vautin made his Origin debut for the Maroons in Game 2 of the 1982 series. He was originally selected as the starting lock forward but was moved to the bench on the day of the game by coach Arthur Beetson in favor of Rod Morris who ended up putting in a man of the match performance. Vautin came on in the second half and, with Qld leading 8-7, scored the winning try for the Maroons that kept the series alive after New South Wales had won Game 1.
In 1984, Vautin and Qld (and Manly) team mate Chris Close became the last Qld representative players to be selected for the annual NSW City vs NSW Country game when he was selected in the second row for NSW City for the game at the SCG, won 38-12 by City.
For the next nine years, with the excetion of 1986 when he was not considered for selection due to his broken arm, he was a regular in those star-studded Queensland sides which included test players Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga, Gene Miles, Chris Close, Dale Shearer, Bob Lindner and Greg Dowling among others, and produced many inspirational performances over 22 games, often as the unofficial vice-captain to Lewis. He had the honor of captaining the Queensland side in the first game of the 1988 State of Origin series at the new Sydney Football Stadium, and the first game of the 1990 series at Olympic Park in Melbourne (the first Origin game in Australia played outside of Brisbane or Sydney). Both times he captained the team was when Lewis was ruled out with injury. At the time he became only the third Qld Origin captain at the time alongside Beetson and Lewis.
Game 1 of the 1990 series was Vautin’s last game of State of Origin football as he was sensationally dumped after Qld lost 0-8 to NSW after having won both the previous two series 3-0. It was the first time in Origin that either side had ever been held scoreless in a game.
Vautin made his test debut for Australia in 1982 in the First Test against New Zealand at Lang Park in Brisbane under the coaching of his original Manly coach Frank Stanton. After playing for Qld and Australia, helping Manly to 2nd on the ladder and then into the Grand Final against minor premiers Parramatta, he was surprisingly not selected for the end of season 1982 Kangaroo tour (it has been speculated that he was a victim of NSW v Qld selection politics that prevailed at the time, and that he was sacrificed in a trade-off for a NSW player to be selected). Vautin first knew of his omission from the team at Manly’s 1982 presentation night. Club captain Max Krilich had been called on stage as it was announced that he would be the captain of the 1982 Kangaroo’s. Krilich saw the list and upon looking around the room, caught Vautin’s eye and shook his head, telling Fatty of his non-selection. Seven Manly players (Krilich (c), Kerry Boustead, Les Boyd, Ray Brown, Paul McCabe, John Ribot and Ian Schubert) were selected in the 28 man touring squad.
He also missed selection for Australia’s mid-season tour to New Zealand in 1983, but made his international return in 1984 in the second Ashes Test against Great Britain at Lang Park, copping an elbow to the face from replacement Mick Adams as he tackled the Lions forward, resulting in a fractured cheekbone during the 18-6 win which saw Australia retain The Ashes. Vautin’s injury kept him out of the third test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and caused him to miss 11 games of the 1984 NSWRL season. The game was notable for the "back alley" tactics from the Lions who seemed intent at times on playing the man and not the ball, with Aussie captain Wally Lewis a particular target of high tackles and swinging arms, while Mal Meninga was kneed in the back while scoring a try.