1985 State of Origin series

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1985 State of Origin series
Won byNew South Wales colours.svg New South Wales (1st title)
Series margin2-1
Points scored81
Attendance90,937 (ave. 30,312 per match)
Top points scorer(s)New South Wales colours.svg Michael O'Connor (29)
Top try scorer(s)New South Wales colours.svg Michael O'Connor (2)
Queensland colours.svg Dale Shearer (2)

The 1985 State of Origin series was the fourth time the annual three-match series between New South Wales and Queensland was contested entirely under 'state of origin' selection rules. It was the year that New South Wales finally ended Queensland's dominance which had arisen with the State of Origin concept.


Game I[edit]

Queensland centre Gene Miles was ruled out of State of Origin due to a knee injury.[1]

Tuesday, 28 May 1985[2]
New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales 18–2 Queensland colours.svg Queensland
(18 - 2 t, 5g) Michael O'Connor (Report) Mal Meninga (2 - 1 g)
Lang Park, Brisbane, Queensland
Attendance: 33,011
Referee: Kelvin Roberts
Man of the Match: Peter Wynn

Heavy rain confronted the players at Lang Park when the teams took the field for the opening match of the series, and it was thought players new to Origin football such as Michael O'Connor might struggle to cope with the conditions. However the former Wallaby displayed nerves of steel to complete one of Origin's most memorable debuts scoring two tries and kicking five goals to finish with all 18 of the Blue's points.

The relentless Blues defence led by Steve Roach, Pat Jarvis and Peter Wynn continually repelled the Maroons and helped keep the Blues line intact for the first time at Origin level. Five-eighth Brett Kenny earned wide praise for his efforts opposite Wally Lewis who was subjected to merciless pressure for almost the entire match. New coach Terry Fearnley and his captain Steve Mortimer had plotted for months to uncover a secret factor that would bring an end to the Maroons' Origin stranglehold. The strategy was to heap pressure on Lewis, Queensland's five-eighth and playmaker and the Blues carried out the plan perfectly.

Game II[edit]

Tuesday, 11 June 1985[3]
New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales 21–14 Queensland colours.svg Queensland
(4 - 1 t) Chris Mortimer
(4 - 1 t) Benny Elias
(4 - 1 t) Brett Kenny
(9 - 4 g, 1 fg) Michael O'Connor
(Report) Bob Lindner(4 - 1 t)
Ian French (4 - 1 t)
Mal Meninga (6 - 3 g)
Sydney Cricket Ground
Attendance: 39,068
Referee: Barry Gomersall
Man of the Match: Wally Lewis

With history possibly in the making a large New South Wales home crowd turned out in wet conditions at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The match was played on a knife's edge when after the Blues had taken a 12-0 lead with two tries after only 16 minutes, Queensland struck back in typical style and took a 14-12 lead despite having lost Bob Lindner and Colin Scott with serious injuries.

The New South Wales forwards relentlessly hurled themselves at the Queensland defence until cracks slowly began to appear. A penalty goal and then a sharply taken field goal by O'Connor gave the Blues a 15-14 lead and then when Lewis attempted to level the scores with his own field goal attempt eight minutes from the end, Mortimer flew from the ruck to charge down the kick.

It was the inspiration the Blues needed and when five-eighth Brett Kenny dashed over for the decisive try a minute from full-time, it sparked scenes of jubilation among the New South Wales players. Broadcast images that now form part of Origin folklore captured a rapturous Mortimer chaired from the field and then falling to the ground full of emotion and pride in the Blues' historic first series victory.[4]

Game III[edit]

Tuesday, 23 July 1985[5]
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 20–6 New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales
(8 - 2 t ) Dale Shearer
(4 - 1 t) John Ribot
(4 - 1 t) Ian French
(4 - 2 g) Mal Meninga
(Report) Steve Ella (4 - 1 t)
Michael O'Connor (2 - 1 g)
Lang Park
Attendance: 18,825
Referee: Barry Gomersall
Man of the Match: Wally Fullerton Smith

Queensland took the field in Game III determined to avoid a whitewash but also smarting from a national selection controversy. Blues coach Terry Fearnley was also the Australian national coach and the match was played after the Australia v New Zealand Test series that year. Fearnley had dropped four players, all of them Maroons after the second Test. The Kiwis went on to win the third test 18-0, the first time the Australian's had been held scoreless in a test match since 1956.

Queensland came out breathing fire and as the score mounted, late in the game Maroons forward Greg Dowling, one of the players axed by Fearnley, left the field replaced and stopped by the Blues bench to give Fearnley a passionate serve and tirade of abuse. Following this event ARL officials would legislate that the national coach never be a serving Origin coach to avoid the possibility of such embarrassing scenes or the potential for claims of bias.[6]


New South Wales[edit]

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Balmain colours.svg Garry Jack
Wing Parramatta colours.svg Eric Grothe, Sr.
Centre St. George colours.svg Michael O'Connor
Centre Canterbury colours.svg Chris Mortimer
Wing Eastern Suburbs colours.svg John Ferguson
Five-Eighth Parramatta colours.svg Brett Kenny
Halfback Canterbury colours.svg Steve Mortimer (c) Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Des Hasler
Prop Balmain colours.svg Steve Roach
Hooker Balmain colours.svg Ben Elias
Prop St. George colours.svg Pat Jarvis
Second Row Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Noel Cleal Balmain colours.svg David Brooks
Second Row Parramatta colours.svg Peter Wynn
Lock Balmain colours.svg Wayne Pearce Balmain colours.svg Wayne Pearce (c)
Replacement Parramatta colours.svg Steve Ella
Replacement Canterbury colours.svg Peter Tunks South Sydney colours.svg Tony Rampling
Coach New South Wales colours.svg Terry Fearnley


Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Colin Scott
Wing Redcliffe colours.svg John Ribot
Centre Western Suburbs colours.svg Mal Meninga
Centre Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Chris Close
Wing Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Dale Shearer
Five-Eighth Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Wally Lewis (c)
Halfback Redcliffe colours.svg Mark Murray
Prop Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Greg Dowling
Hooker Redcliffe colours.svg Greg Conescu
Prop Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Dave Brown
Second Row Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Paul Vautin Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Ian French
Second Row Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Paul McCabe Redcliffe colours.svg Wally Fullerton-Smith
Lock Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Bob Lindner Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Paul Vautin
Replacement Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Brett French Redcliffe colours.svg Tony Currie
Replacement Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Ian French Balmain colours.svg Cavill Heugh
Coach Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Des Morris

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gallaway, Jack (2003). Origin: Rugby league's greatest contest 1980 - 2002. University of Queensland Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7022-3383-8.
  2. ^ 1985 Game 1 at nrlstats.com
  3. ^ 1985 Game 2 at nrlstats.com
  4. ^ Prichard, Greg (2010-06-15). "Scandals, losing streaks, injuries but there's never been a lost cause". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
  5. ^ 1985 Game 3 at nrlstats.com
  6. ^ 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.


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

External links[edit]