2004 State of Origin series

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2004 State of Origin series
Won by New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales (11th title)
Series margin   2–1
Points scored 107
Attendance 203,309 (ave. 67,770 per match)
Top points scorer(s) New South Wales colours.svg Craig Fitzgibbon (20)
Top try scorer(s) Queensland colours.svg Billy Slater (3)

The 2004 State of Origin series was the 23rd 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. A pre-series Blues mobile phone scandal, Brad Fittler's comeback, a Golden point outcome in Game I and an extraordinary Billy Slater try showed that State of Origin's ability to create memorable football moments was as strong as ever after 25 years of the concept. The New South Wales' Game III victory saw a match-up in the respective cumulative tallies at 35 wins apiece, continuing a recurring trend where any push toward dominance by one side is soon countered by the other. The Ron McAuliffe Medal for Queensland player of the series was awarded to Steve Price.

Game I[edit]

New South Wales players Anthony Minichiello and Mark Gasnier were dropped following a drunken incident during the Blues' training camp when it was made public that Gasnier had left a lewd message on a female acquaintance's phone.[1]

26 May
New South Wales New South Wales colours.svg 9–8 Queensland colours.svg Queensland
Shaun Timmins (5 - 1t, 1fg)
Craig Fitzgibbon (4 - 1t)
(Report) (4 - 1t) Brent Tate
(4 - 1t) Scott Prince
Telstra Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 68,344
Referee/s: Sean Hampstead
Man of the Match: Shaun Timmins[2]

Game one featured the first ever Golden point decision in State of Origin football in the very first game where the ruling became available. With scores locked at 8-all and three minutes of extra time played, St George Illawarra Dragons player Shaun Timmins, who had returned to top-class and representative football against unlikely odds after two career-threatening knee injuries and operations, stepped up and kicked a 37-metre left-foot field goal to steal victory for New South Wales. Blues halfback Craig Gower had already missed three earlier field goal attempts, was struggling with a knee injury and was closely marked by Queensland at every kick opportunity so it was left to Timmins to create his own moment of Origin folklore.

Game II[edit]

Game II had plenty of hype surrounding it after Blues coach Phil Gould coaxed Brad Fittler out of representative retirement to spearhead the Blues campaign. First game hero Timmins was missing through injury as was Gower and next choice half-backs Trent Barrett, Matt Orford and Brett Kimmorley. This left Sydney Roosters number seven Brett Finch to make his Origin debut alongside his club captain Fittler at five-eighth.

16 June
Queensland Queensland colours.svg 22–18 New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales
Billy Slater (8 - 2t)
Cameron Smith (4 - 2g)
Dane Carlaw (4 - 1t)
Willie Tonga (4 - 1t)
Scott Prince (2 - 1g)
(Report) (8 - 2t) Timana Tahu
(6 - 3g) Craig Fitzgibbon
(4 - 1t) Luke Rooney
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Attendance: 52,478
Referee/s: Sean Hampstead
Man of the Match: Billy Slater

Suncorp Stadium proved to be a graveyeard for the Blues thanks to one of the greatest Origin tries ever seen. 20-year-old Billy Slater, a former track work jockey who had burst onto the rugby league scene in 2003, stormed onto a Darren Lockyer grubber kick from halfway before chipping over the top of Blues fullback Anthony Minichiello, chasing, regathering and scoring in the same instant.[3]

Game III[edit]

Gould gambled by making six changes to the side which had played in game II.

7 July
New South Wales New South Wales colours.svg 36–14 Queensland colours.svg Queensland
Mark Gasnier (10 - 2t,1g)
Craig Fitzgibbon (10- 5g)
Anthony Minichiello (4 - 1t)
Luke Rooney (4 - 1t)
Brad Fittler (4 - 1t)
Trent Barrett (4 - 1t)
(Report) (6 - 3g) Cameron Smith
(4 - 1t) Matt Bowen
(4 - 1t) Billy Slater
Telstra Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 82,487
Referee/s: Paul Simpkins
Man of the Match: Craig Fitzgibbon

In Game III, the Blues and their inspirational former captain Brad Fittler saved their best till last. The match was also the swansong for Phil Gould, New South Wales' most successful Origin coach who had commenced his coaching association with Fittler 14 years earlier at the beginning of their respective coaching and playing careers.

St George Illawarra provided six players including debutant centres Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper and it was their attacking impetus along with Fittler's class that clinched an emphatic 36-14 victory. Fittler scored the last try in the match to the delight of his team-mates.[4]

New South Wales squad[edit]

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback St. George colours.svg Ben Hornby Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Anthony Minichiello
Wing Penrith colours.svg Luke Lewis Newcastle colours.svg Timana Tahu Penrith colours.svg Luke Lewis
Centre Brisbane colours.svg Michael De Vere Penrith colours.svg Luke Lewis St. George colours.svg Mark Gasnier
Centre Newcastle colours.svg Matt Gidley St. George colours.svg Matt Cooper
Wing Penrith colours.svg Luke Rooney
Five-eighth St. George colours.svg Shaun Timmins Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Brad Fittler
Halfback Penrith colours.svg Craig Gower Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Brett Finch St. George colours.svg Trent Barrett
Prop Canberra colours.svg Ryan O'Hara Cronulla colours.svg Jason Stevens St. George colours.svg Jason Ryles
Hooker Newcastle colours.svg Danny Buderus (c)
Prop Canterbury colours.svg Mark O'Meley
Second Row Parramatta colours.svg Nathan Hindmarsh
Second Row Canterbury colours.svg Andrew Ryan Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Craig Fitzgibbon
Lock Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Craig Fitzgibbon St. George colours.svg Shaun Timmins
Interchange Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Craig Wing
Interchange Penrith colours.svg Trent Waterhouse Newcastle colours.svg Ben Kennedy
Interchange St. George colours.svg Brent Kite
Interchange Canterbury colours.svg Willie Mason
Coach New South Wales colours.svg Phil Gould

Queensland squad[edit]

Position Game I Game II Game III
Fullback Penrith colours.svg Rhys Wesser
Wing Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Justin Hodges North Queensland colours.svg Matt Sing
Centre North Queensland colours.svg Paul Bowman Brisbane colours.svg Brent Tate
Centre Brisbane colours.svg Brent Tate Canterbury colours.svg Willie Tonga
Wing Melbourne colours.svg Billy Slater
Five-eighth Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Chris Flannery Brisbane colours.svg Darren Lockyer (c)
Halfback Wests Tigers colours.svg Scott Prince
Prop Brisbane colours.svg Shane Webcke (c) Brisbane colours.svg Shane Webcke
Hooker Melbourne colours.svg Cameron Smith
Prop Canterbury colours.svg Steve Price
Second Row Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Michael Crocker Brisbane colours.svg Petero Civoniceva Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Michael Crocker
Second Row Brisbane colours.svg Dane Carlaw
Lock Brisbane colours.svg Tonie Carroll Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Chris Flannery
Interchange Penrith colours.svg Ben Ross
Interchange North Queensland colours.svg Matt Bowen
Interchange Brisbane colours.svg Petero Civoniceva Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Chris Flannery Brisbane colours.svg Petero Civoniceva
Interchange North Queensland colours.svg Travis Norton Brisbane colours.svg Corey Parker
Coach Newcastle colours.svg Michael Hagan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Prichard, Greg (15 June 2010). "Scandals, losing streaks, injuries but there's never been a lost cause". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  2. ^ "State of Origin - 2000s". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Digital). 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  3. ^ Steve Mascord and John Schell (17 June 2004). "Slater ruins Freddie's fairytale". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Barrow, Tim (6 July 2011). "State of Origin: The deciders". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 

External links[edit]


  • Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney