1996 State of Origin series

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1996 State of Origin series
Won by New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales (7th title)
Series margin   3 - 0
Points scored 73
Attendance 119,520 (ave. 39,840 per match)
Top points scorer(s) New South Wales colours.svg Andrew Johns (16)
Top try scorer(s) New South Wales colours.svg Brett Mullins (3)

The 1996 State of Origin series saw the 15th time that the annual three-game series between the Queensland and New South Wales representative rugby league football teams was contested entirely under 'state of origin' selection rules. This series saw the return to representative football of players who had signed with Super League, after a court decision had delayed the beginning of Super League until at least 2000. As a result, both teams were back to full strength, and a new record was set for the highest State of Origin crowd at the Sydney Football Stadium.

New South Wales were able to bounce back from the 3 - 0 whitewash of the 1995 Series and win the 1996 series 3 - 0, reversing the result of the previous year. The first send off in Origin history occurred in 1996 and New South Wales made further history as the first side to go through a complete series without a player change.


Game I[edit]

May 20, 1996
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 6–14 New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales
(4 - 1 t) Allan Langer
(2 - 1 g) Wayne Bartrim
(Report) Andrew Johns (6 - 3 g)
Andrew Ettingshausen (4 - 1 t)
Steve Menzies (4 - 1 t)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 39,348
Referee/s: David Manson
Man of the Match: Geoff Toovey


The Blues came out in the opener at Suncorp Stadium with all guns blazing, as the Maroons were overwhelmed all over the park and went down 14-6. If everything had gone their way though, the Blues would have finished streets ahead.

The decision by the selectors to go in with the 1995 World Cup halfbck and hooker combination of Andrew Johns and Geoff Toovey was the spark that ignited the Blues. Up front New South Wales simply out muscled their opponents with Glenn Lazarus putting in an extraordinary performance. Despite the fact unlimited interchange was in force for the first time in Origin, Lazarus stayed on the paddock for the full 80 minutes.

Wendell Sailor was brilliant for the Maroons on debut, their most attacking player, but the partnership of Allan Langer and Jason Smith in the halves didn't work and the Queenslanders' ball control was poor. Tim Brasher, chosen at fullback with Brett Mullins forced to the wing, justified his selection with a brilliant performance, while Paul Harragon was inspirational up front with Lazarus.

Game II[edit]

June 3, 1996
New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales 18–6 Queensland colours.svg Queensland
(8 - 2 t) Brett Mullins
(6 - 3 g) Andrew Johns
(4 - 1 t)Rod Wishart
(Report) Steve Renouf (4 - 1 t)
Julian O'Neill (2 - 1 g)
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 41,955
Referee/s: David Manson
Man of the Match: Andrew Johns

The Blues comfortably wrapped up the series with an 18-6 win in game II at the Sydney Football Stadium, with Laurie Daley and Andrew Ettingshausen demonstrating repeatedly all the skills and speed that stamped them as Origin greats.

The game was marred by the first send-off in State of Origin history when Queensland replacement forward Craig Greenhill was marched for a high tackle on Blues prop Paul Harragon.[1] A specially convened State of Origin judiciary suspended him for four matches.

Blues coach Phil Gould said after the game that New South Wales could make some history of their own by being the first side to go through an entire Origin series unchanged. His prediction proved correct.

Game III[edit]

June 17, 1996
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 14–15 New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales
(6 - 3 g) Willie Carne
(4 - 1 t) Mark Coyne
(4 - 1 t) Brett Dallas
(Report) Andrew Ettingshausen (4 - 1 t)
Andrew Johns (4 - 2 g)
Brett Mullins (4 - 1 t)
Rod Wishart (2 - 1 g)
Brad Fittler (1 - 1 fg)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 38,217
Referee/s: David Manson
Man of the Match: Steve Menzies

The Blues skipped away to a 15-2 lead halfway through game III and with only eight minutes remaining it appeared all was lost for the Langer-led Queenslanders. Blues captain Brad Fittler had earlier potted a field goal which seemed to be almost an indulgence at the time, though in the end it proved crucial as the Maroons came storming home.

First Mark Coyne managed to somehow produce a try after the ball ricocheted off his boot, then Matt Sing made a break to put speedy winger Brett Dallas over. At 15-14 the Queenslanders suddenly had a full head of steam. With seconds remaining Langer put on a cross-field kick which was pounced on by Coyne. The Suncorp Stadium crowd went into a frenzy thinking that Coyne had pulled off another miracle Origin try but referee David Manson looked to this touch judge who ruled that Coyne had been in front of the kicker.[2]

New South Wales teams[edit]

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Balmain colours.svg Tim Brasher
Wing Illawarra colours.svg Rod Wishart
Centre Cronulla colours.svg Andrew Ettingshausen
Centre Canberra colours.svg Laurie Daley
Wing Canberra colours.svg Brett Mullins
Five-Eighth Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Brad Fittler (c)
Halfback Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Geoff Toovey
Prop Brisbane colours.svg Glenn Lazarus
Hooker Newcastle colours.svg Andrew Johns
Prop Newcastle colours.svg Paul Harragon
Second Row Canberra colours.svg David Furner
Second Row Parramatta colours.svg Dean Pay
Lock Newcastle colours.svg Adam Muir
Interchange Parramatta colours.svg Jim Dymock
Interchange Canberra colours.svg Jason Croker
Interchange Newcastle colours.svg Jamie Ainscough
Interchange Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Steve Menzies
Coach New South Wales colours.svg Phil Gould

Queensland teams[edit]

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Newcastle colours.svg Robbie O'Davis Brisbane colours.svg Wendell Sailor
Wing North Sydney colours.svg Brett Dallas
Centre Brisbane colours.svg Steve Renouf
Centre Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Matt Sing St. George colours.svg Mark Coyne
Wing Brisbane colours.svg Wendell Sailor Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Matt Sing Brisbane colours.svg Willie Carne
Five-Eighth Parramatta colours.svg Jason Smith Western Reds colours.svg Julian O'Neill South Queensland colours.svg Dale Shearer
Halfback Brisbane colours.svg Allan Langer Brisbane colours.svg Allan Langer (c)
Prop North Sydney colours.svg Tony Hearn
Hooker St. George colours.svg Wayne Bartrim Canberra colours.svg Steve Walters
Prop North Sydney colours.svg Gary Larson Brisbane colours.svg Andrew Gee
Second Row South Queensland colours.svg Trevor Gillmeister (c) North Sydney colours.svg Gary Larson
Second Row Brisbane colours.svg Brad Thorn
Lock North Sydney colours.svg Billy Moore
Interchange Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Adrian Lam
Interchange Brisbane colours.svg Michael Hancock Brisbane colours.svg Kevin Walters Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Matt Sing
Interchange Brisbane colours.svg Alan Cann Parramatta colours.svg Jason Smith
Interchange Cronulla colours.svg Craig Greenhill Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Owen Cunningham
Coach Queensland colours.svg Paul Vautin

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Steve Ricketts, Barry Dick, Paul Malone (23 May 2012). "The 30 greatest controversies in 30 years of State of Origin series". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  2. ^ foxsports.com.au (1 July 2008). "Classic State of Origin IIIs". Fox Sports (Australia: Premier Media Group). Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  • Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney

External links[edit]