New South Wales rugby league team

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New South Wales
Badge of New South Wales team
Nickname The Blues
Governing body New South Wales Rugby League
Head coach Laurie Daley (2013-present)
Captain Paul Gallen (2011-16)
Most caps Brad Fittler (31)
Top try-scorer Michael O'Connor (11)
Top point-scorer Michael O'Connor (129)
Home stadium ANZ Stadium (84,000)
First game
New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales 8–12 New Zealand 
(Royal Agricultural Society Ground, Sydney; 1907)
First State of Origin game
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 20–10 New South Wales New South Wales colours.svg
(Lang Park, Brisbane; 8 July 1980)
Biggest win
New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales 56-16 Queensland Queensland colours.svg
(Stadium Australia, Sydney; 26 June 2000)
Biggest defeat
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 52-6 New South Wales New South Wales colours.svg
(Suncorp Stadium; 8 July 2015)

The New South Wales rugby league team has represented the Australian state of New South Wales in rugby league football since the sport's beginnings there in 1907. Also known as the Blues due to their sky blue jerseys, the team competes in the annual State of Origin series against neighbouring team, the Queensland rugby league team. This annual event is a series of three games competing for the State of Origin shield. In 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 the Blues were captained by Paul Gallen and coached by Laurie Daley.

Prior to 1980 when the "state-of-origin" selection criteria were introduced, the New South Wales team, in addition to playing annually against Queensland, played matches against foreign touring sides and occasionally toured overseas themselves. They have played all their home matches at Stadium Australia, New South Wales' largest stadium, since it was built in 1999.


Pre-Origin era (1907–1980)[edit]

The inaugural 'All Blues' squad of 1907.
The first New South Wales team to go to Queensland in 1910.

The New South Wales rugby league team pre-dates the Australian national team, playing their inaugural match against a rebel New Zealand rugby team on the 1907–08 New Zealand rugby tour of Australia and Great Britain under existing rugby union rules. That inaugural "All Blues" side, the first football team assembled by the newly formed NSWRFL was:

Backs: Charles Hedley · Johnno Stuntz · Ed Fry · Dally Messenger · Frank Cheadle · Albert Rosenfeld · Lou D'Alpuget
Forwards: Harry Hamill · Arthur Hennessy · Bob Mable · Peter Moir · Sid Pearce · Billy Cann · Robert Graves · Herb Brackenreg

Two further matches were played against New Zealand before their tour took them to the Northern Hemisphere, with Jim Devereaux also featuring for the Blues. The visiting All Golds won all three games. However, on the return leg of their tour, almost a year later, with the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership established, the Blues won the first two matches they ever played under 13-a-side rules against New Zealand. Later in 1908 the Queensland team, whose first taste of rugby league football was also against the visiting Kiwis, traveled to Sydney for the first series of games between the two states. New South Wales won all three matches, setting a precedent for interstate dominance that would continue throughout most of the 20th century.

In 1910 New South Wales defeated the touring England team in two of their three games. After that they became the first Blues side to travel to Queensland for the annual interstate series.

In 1912 the New South Wales team first toured New Zealand. They also visited New Zealand in 1913. During the 1913 New Zealand rugby league tour of Australia New South Wales played four matches against the Kiwis, winning three of them.

The New South Wales team lost its first game against Queensland in 1922. This year the Blues also toured New Zealand.

During the 1951 French rugby league tour of Australia and New Zealand New South Wales played one match against the successful France national rugby league team, a 14-all draw.

In a 1954 tour match between Great Britain and New South Wales the referee left the field in disgust at the players' persistent fighting after 56 minutes so the match was abandoned.[1]

State of Origin era (1980 – present)[edit]

New South Wales' dominance over Queensland came to an end with the introduction of 'state of origin' selection rules in the early 1980s.

During the Super League war, in 1997 New South Wales was represented by two teams: one made up of players from clubs that remained loyal to the Australian Rugby League, which competed in the 1997 State of Origin series; another made up of players from clubs that joined the rebel Super League which competed in the one-off Super League Tri-series.

Ricky Stuart, who had previously coached New South Wales in 2005, was announced as the first full-time Blues coach in November 2010. Following the 2012 series, the Blues' seventh consecutive loss, Stuart resigned the role. Stuart took a role as the Parramatta Eels head coach in 2013, citing family reasons for his move. Although the Blues continued their losing streak during Stuart's tenure, he is credited with restoring passion and pride to the NSW jersey and closing the gap between the two states. He was replaced by former Canberra, NSW and Australia teammate Laurie Daley. Daley's appointment as NSW State of Origin coach was announced in August 2012 and effective from season 2013. Daley got job over candidates including Trent Barrett, Brad Fittler and Daniel Anderson. Daley coached the Blues to a series victory in 2014, their first since 2005 and over his coaching rival and long time Canberra & Australian teammate Mal Meninga. Daley ended Meninga's and Queensland's run of eight series wins with victories in Game I and Game II of the 2014 series

Colours and badge[edit]

The primary colour of New South Wales Blues is sky blue, which represents the state colour of New South Wales. The secondary colour is navy blue, with additional contrasting colour of white.

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Major Sponsor Minor Sponsor Shorts Sponsor
1980-1990 Classic Sportswear No minor sponsor No shorts sponsor
1991-1996 Classic Sportswear Tooheys Blue Tooheys Blue Tooheys Blue
1997 Canterbury Tooheys Tooheys Tooheys
1998-2004 Canterbury Wizard Home Loans Wizard Home Loans Wizard Home Loans
2005-2007 Canterbury PlayStation 2 Wizard Home Loans
2008 Canterbury Wizard Home Loans nib
2009-2010 Classic Sportswear Aussie Home Loans nib Aussie Home Loans
2011– Classic Sportswear Victoria Bitter nib GIO


The official New South Wales rugby league team supporter group is known as "Blatchy's Blues".[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]


For the list of New South Wales Blues cap numbers, see List of New South Wales rugby league team players.
For the list of New South Wales Blues squads by year, see List of New South Wales rugby league team squads.

Most recent squad[edit]

For more details on this topic, see 2016 State of Origin series.
Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Panthers colours.svg Matt Moylan Wests Tigers colours.svg James Tedesco
Wing Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Blake Ferguson
Centre Parramatta colours.svg Michael Jennings
Centre Canterbury colours.svg Josh Morris1 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Dylan Walker4 St. George colours.svg Josh Dugan
Wing Panthers colours.svg Josh Mansour
Five-eighth Cronulla colours.svg James Maloney Panthers colours.svg Matt Moylan5
Halfback South Sydney colours.svg Adam Reynolds Cronulla colours.svg James Maloney5
Prop Wests Tigers colours.svg Aaron Woods
Hooker Wests Tigers colours.svg Robbie Farah
Prop North Queensland colours.svg James Tamou2 Cronulla colours.svg Paul Gallen (c)
Second row Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Boyd Cordner St. George colours.svg Tyson Frizell3 Cronulla colours.svg Wade Graham
Second row Canterbury colours.svg Josh Jackson
Lock Cronulla colours.svg Paul Gallen2 (c) St. George colours.svg Tyson Frizell
Interchange Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Dylan Walker Cronulla colours.svg Jack Bird4
Interchange Gold Coast Titans colours.svg Greg Bird2 North Queensland colours.svg James Tamou
Interchange Canterbury colours.svg David Klemmer
Interchange Cronulla colours.svg Andrew Fifita
Coach New South Wales colours.svg Laurie Daley
18th man St. George colours.svg Tyson Frizell Panthers colours.svg Bryce Cartwright
19th man Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Tom Trbojevic
20th man Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Jake Trbojevic

1 - Josh Dugan was originally selected to play in Game I, but he withdrew due to an elbow injury. He was replaced by Josh Morris.
2 - James Tamou was originally selected to start on the bench in Game I, but however on game day he swapped positions with Greg Bird. Bird was moved from lock to bench, Tamou moved from bench to prop and Paul Gallen from prop to lock.
3 - Wade Graham was originally selected to play in Game II, but he was suspended. He was replaced by Tyson Frizell.
4 - Josh Morris was originally selected to play in Game II, but was forced out due to injury. Dylan Walker was moved from the bench to centre, while Jack Bird was promoted from 19th man to the bench.
5 - Adam Reynolds was originally selected to play halfback in Game III, but withdrew due to injury. James Maloney shifted from five-eighth to halfback and Matt Moylan, who had originally been dropped from the squad for James Tedesco, was recalled into the squad to start at five-eighth.

Team of the Century (1908–2007)[edit]

Before Game I of the 2008 State of Origin series, to celebrate the game's centenary that year, New South Wales named their team of the century:[9]

No. Position Player
Australia FB Clive Churchill
Australia WG Ken Irvine
Australia CE Reg Gasnier
Australia CE Graeme Langlands
Australia WG Dally Messenger
Australia FE Bob Fulton
Australia HB Andrew Johns
Australia PR Frank Burge
Australia HK Sandy Pearce
No. Position Player
Australia PR Glenn Lazarus
Australia SR Ron Coote
Australia SR Norm Provan
Australia LK John Raper
Australia RE Wally Prigg
Australia RE Dave Brown
Australia RE Steve Rogers
Australia RE Roy Bull

Origin greats[edit]

As part of the 25-year celebrations in 2005, New South Wales named 25 legends for each year before that.[10]

No. Position Player
Australia FB Tim Brasher
Australia SR Noel Cleal
Australia LK Bradley Clyde
Australia FE Laurie Daley
Australia HK Ben Elias
Australia CE Andrew Ettingshausen
Australia FE Brad Fittler
Australia WG Eric Grothe
Australia PR Paul Harragon
Australia FB Garry Jack
Australia HB Andrew Johns
Australia FE Brett Kenny
No. Position Player
Australia PR Glenn Lazarus
Australia CE Paul McGregor
Australia HB Steve Mortimer
Australia WG Michael O'Connor
Australia LK Wayne Pearce
Australia LK Ray Price
Australia PR Steve Roach
Australia PR Ian Roberts
Australia SR Paul Sironen
Australia HB Peter Sterling
Australia HB Ricky Stuart
Australia HB Geoff Toovey
Australia WG Rod Wishart


Player Occasions Game(s) as Captain
Tommy Raudonikis 1 1980
Steve Rogers 1 1981
Max Krilich 5 1982, Games 1 & 3 1983
Ray Price 3 Game 2 1983, Games 1 & 2 1984
Steve Mortimer 3 Game 3 1984, Games 1 & 2 1985
Wayne Pearce 10 Game 3 1985, 1986–1988
Peter Sterling 1 Game 4 1987
Gavin Miller 3 1989
Ben Elias 6 1990, 1991
Laurie Daley 10 1992, 1993, 1998, Game 3 1999
Brad Fittler 17 1994–1996, Games 1 & 2 1999, 2000, 2001
Geoff Toovey 3 1997
Andrew Johns 6 2002, 2003
Danny Buderus 15 2004–2008
Kurt Gidley 5 2009, Game 1 & 2 2010
Trent Barrett 1 Game 3 2010
Paul Gallen 16 2011, 2012, Game 1 & 2 2013, 2014-2016
Robbie Farah 2 Game 3 2013, Game 1 2015


New South Wales have had a total of thirteen different coaches at State of Origin level, eight of which have previously played for the Blues.

Coach Era Games Wins Success %
Ted Glossop 1980–1981, 1983 5 1 20%
Frank Stanton 1982, 1984 6 2 33%
Terry Fearnley 1985 3 2 66%
Ron Willey 1986–1987 7 5 71%
John Peard 1988 3 0 0%
Jack Gibson 1989–1990 6 2 33%
Tim Sheens 1991 3 1 33%
Phil Gould 1992–1996; 2002–2004 24 14 58%
Tommy Raudonikis 1997–1998 6 3 50%
Wayne Pearce 1999–2001 9 5 56%
Ricky Stuart 2005; 2011–2012 9 4 44%
Graham Murray 2006–2007 6 2 33%
Craig Bellamy 2008–2010 9 2 22%
Laurie Daley 2013–present 12 5 41%


The current New South Wales State of Origin side's selection panel consists of Bob Fulton, Bob McCarthy and Geoff Gerard. During the Blues five series loss from 2006 to 2010 they came in for criticism.[11] The selectors have come under increasing amounts of criticism as NSW also lost the series in 2011, 2012 and 2013 making it a record 8 series losses in a row for the Blues.


New South Wales Residents rugby league team[edit]

New South Wales Women's rugby league team[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]