2003 State of Origin series

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2003 State of Origin series
Won byNew South Wales colours.svg New South Wales (10th title)
Series margin2-1
Points scored110
Attendance183,682 (ave. 61,227 per match)
Top points scorer(s)New South Wales colours.svg Andrew Johns (22)
Top try scorer(s)New South Wales colours.svg Anthony Minichiello (3)
New South Wales colours.svg Timana Tahu (3)
Queensland colours.svg Matt Sing (3)

The 2003 State of Origin series was the 22nd year that the annual three-game series between Queensland and New South Wales was contested entirely under 'state of origin' selection rules. Queensland's return to a renovated Lang Park was soured when Andrew Johns returned to form for New South Wales in devastating fashion.

Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in television promotions for the 2003 series.[1][2] Blues coach Phil Gould sparked controversy before the series had even started when he slammed the form of his champion half-back Johns in his Sun-Herald column. Gould claimed that Johns had lost his "self-confidence" in an attack that caused outrage from all corners, including Johns himself, who had words with Gould at a pre-Origin briefing. But in the end it was psychology that worked, as 2003 was Johns' best ever series performance.

Game I[edit]

Wednesday, 11 June 2003
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 12–25 New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales
Darren Lockyer (8 - 1t,2g)
Gorden Tallis (4 -1t)
(Report) (13 - 1t,4g,1fg) Andrew Johns
(8 - 2t) Anthony Minichiello
(4 -1t) Craig Wing
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Attendance: 52,429
Referee: Bill Harrigan[3]
Man of the Match: Luke Bailey

In Game I, Andrew Johns spoiled what was supposed to be a party time for the Queenslanders, who returned to their spiritual home of Suncorp Stadium formerly known as Lang Park. The ground was quickly nicknamed the "Sand Pit" as its sandy surface was constantly shifting under the feet of players. Both Maroons centres Justin Hodges and Paul Bowman, were taken from the field with serious knee injuries which were later blamed on the shifting surface.

The Blues pack led by interchange prop Luke Bailey, hammered their Maroons counterparts and gave Johns plenty of room to weave his magic. Johns contributed 13 points to the tally while Anthony Minichiello scored a try double.

Game II[edit]

Wednesday, 25 June 2003
New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales 27–4 Queensland colours.svg Queensland
(8 - 2t) Timana Tahu
(7 - 3g,1fg) Andrew Johns
(4 - 1t) Ben Kennedy
(4 - 1t)Matthew Gidley
(4 - 1t) Anthony Minichiello
(Report) Michael Crocker (4 - 1t)
Telstra Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 79,132
Referee: Bill Harrigan[4]
Man of the Match: Andrew Johns

The series was virtually decided by half-time of game II after the Blues raced to a 17-0 lead. Johns was again the catalyst starting the scoring with a brilliant banana kick that rebounded off the cross bar, went through the hands of Michael De Vere and fell to the ground before Ben Kennedy pounced.

There was no greater example of the brilliant halfback's influence than the last minute before the break. Johns kicked for touch from a 20-metre restart, then after winning the ensuing scrum, hoisted a bomb high into the air which was contested before being batted back into his hands. Without a second thought and while on the run, he potted a 25-metre field goal with ease.

The final score was 27-4 to the Blues who remained unbeaten from seven matches on their home turf of Telstra Stadium.

Game III[edit]

Wednesday, 16 July 2003
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 36–6 New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales
Matt Sing (12 - 3t)
Brent Tate (8 - 2t)
Josh Hannay (8 - 4g)
Cameron Smith (4 - 1t)
Michael Crocker (4 - 1t)
(Report) (4 - 1t) Timana Tahu
(2 - 1g) Andrew Johns
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Attendance: 52,130
Referee: Bill Harrigan[5]
Man of the Match: Matt Sing

Game III, otherwise known as the "dead rubber", restored some much needed pride for the Maroons who dominated the Blues in every facet of the game. Winger Matt Sing was superb, scoring three tries in a man-of-the match performance.

Queensland started with a new-found zest and led 16-0 after just 17 minutes before strangling the Blues out of the contest. Johns was forced to accept the shield in front of an almost empty stadium after Queensland had completed a lap of honour. It was an anti-climactic end to what had been the gifted number seven's best ever series. Queensland's dead rubber win equalled their biggest ever State of Origin victory, which was first equalled in 1989, and then again in 2008, before it was broken in the third game of the 2015 series.


A total of twelve players from the 2003 Brisbane Broncos season were selected to play in the series, making them the most heavily represented club. A total of nine players from the 2003 Sydney Roosters season were selected to play in the series, making them the second most heavily represented club.

New South Wales[edit]

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Anthony Minichiello
Wing Newcastle colours.svg Timana Tahu
Centre Newcastle colours.svg Matt Gidley
Centre Parramatta colours.svg Jamie Lyon
Wing Brisbane colours.svg Michael De Vere
Five-Eighth St. George colours.svg Shaun Timmins
Halfback Newcastle colours.svg Andrew Johns (c)
Prop Melbourne colours.svg Robbie Kearns
Hooker Newcastle colours.svg Danny Buderus
Prop St. George colours.svg Jason Ryles
Second Row Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Craig Fitzgibbon South Sydney colours.svg Bryan Fletcher
Second Row Newcastle colours.svg Ben Kennedy Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Luke Ricketson
Lock Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Luke Ricketson Canterbury colours.svg Braith Anasta
Interchange St. George colours.svg Luke Bailey
Interchange Cronulla colours.svg Phil Bailey
Interchange Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Craig Wing
Interchange Newcastle colours.svg Josh Perry South Sydney colours.svg Bryan Fletcher Canterbury colours.svg Willie Mason
Coach New South Wales colours.svg Phil Gould


Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Brisbane colours.svg Darren Lockyer
Wing Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Shannon Hegarty
Centre Brisbane colours.svg Brent Tate
Centre Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Justin Hodges Brisbane colours.svg Tonie Carroll North Queensland colours.svg Josh Hannay
Wing North Queensland colours.svg Matt Sing
Five-Eighth Brisbane colours.svg Ben Ikin
Halfback Brisbane colours.svg Shaun Berrigan
Prop Brisbane colours.svg Shane Webcke
Hooker New Zealand colours.svg PJ Marsh Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Michael Crocker Melbourne colours.svg Cameron Smith
Prop Brisbane colours.svg Petero Civoniceva Canterbury colours.svg Steve Price Brisbane colours.svg Petero Civoniceva
Second Row Brisbane colours.svg Gorden Tallis (c)
Second Row Brisbane colours.svg Dane Carlaw Brisbane colours.svg Petero Civoniceva Brisbane colours.svg Dane Carlaw
Lock Brisbane colours.svg Tonie Carroll Canterbury colours.svg Travis Norton Brisbane colours.svg Tonie Carroll
Interchange Canterbury colours.svg Steve Price Brisbane colours.svg Dane Carlaw Canterbury colours.svg Steve Price
Interchange Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Chris Flannery Brisbane colours.svg Andrew Gee Canterbury colours.svg Travis Norton
Interchange North Queensland colours.svg Paul Bowman Penrith Panthers square flag icon with 2017 colours.svg Scott Sattler Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Michael Crocker
Interchange Brisbane colours.svg Andrew Gee North Queensland colours.svg Matt Bowen
Coach Brisbane colours.svg Wayne Bennett

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jacquelin Magnay, Anthony Dennis and Alex Brown (26 June 2003). "Hasta la vista, baby: Blues make it Terminator II". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  2. ^ Maddox, Garry (26 June 2003). "Arnie the holiday winner". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  3. ^ 2003 Game I at nrlstats.com
  4. ^ 2003 Game II at nrlstats.com
  5. ^ 2003 Game III at nrlstats.com


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

External links[edit]