State of Origin series

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State of Origin
Current season or competition:
2022 State of Origin series
Ampol State of Origin Logo.jpg
SportRugby league
Number of teams2
CountryAustralia (ARLC)
Shield HoldersNew South Wales colours.svg New South Wales (2021)
Most titlesQueensland colours.svg Queensland (22)
WebsiteNRL website
Broadcast partnerNine Network
Related competitionsCity vs Country Origin
Super League Tri-series

The State of Origin series is an annual best-of-three rugby league series between two Australian state representative sides, the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons.[1]

Referred to as “Australian sport's greatest rivalry”,[2][3][4][5] the State of Origin series is one of Australia's premier sporting events, attracting huge television audiences and usually selling out the stadiums in which the games are played.[6] It is regularly described as being the pinnacle of rugby league, even in comparison with international competitions.[7][8][9][10]

Players are selected to represent the Australian state in which they played their first senior rugby league game. Before 1980 players were only selected for interstate matches based on where they were playing their club football at the time. In both 1980 and 1981, there were two interstate matches under the old selection rules and one experimental "State of Origin" match. From 1982 onwards a best-of-three match series has been played around the middle of the rugby league season for the State of Origin shield. During the early years the overall series results remained relatively even, however, Queensland surged ahead between 2006 and 2017, winning 11 out of 12 series, including a record eight series in a row.


Since the 1908 establishment of rugby league in Australia, the sport's two major states, New South Wales and Queensland, have played representative matches against each other which have continued into the "state of origin" era which began in the 1980s. The two states' teams are frequently referred to as the Blues and Maroons, reflecting the respective colours of their jerseys. These were the colours of the Australia national rugby league team's jersey until the adoption of the green and gold. The Blues team is administered by the New South Wales Rugby League and the Maroons by the Queensland Rugby League. The New South Wales team are sometimes referred to by the nickname "Cockroaches" and the Queensland team as "Cane Toads", due to names given to them by Barry Muir and Johnny Raper respectively. It was reinforced by a marketing campaign used in the 1980s where the respective teams were caricatured as such.

While other Australian states also have representative rugby league teams[citation needed], they have not competed in the State of Origin.


Interstate Rugby League before 1980[edit]

The first calls for a state of origin selection policy in interstate rugby football came before the schism between the union and league codes eventuated in Australia. In 1900 a journalist known as 'The Cynic' wrote in The Referee that star rugby player and recent immigrant to Queensland, Stephen Spragg, should be able to play for his home state of New South Wales.[1]

Since the beginning of Australian rugby league in 1908, an interstate competition between New South Wales and Queensland has been conducted from time to time. Until 1982 each team drew its players from the clubs based in that state. No consideration was given to the origins of the players themselves.[2]

The first of these interstate games was played at Sydney's Agricultural Ground on 11 July 1908, before Queensland had even commenced its club competition. New South Wales easily accounted for Queensland in a 43–0 victory. The local media were unimpressed.

There can be no doubt the NSW men are improving a good deal... They cannot be blamed for the farce, for it was nothing else. If the Australian team depends on Queenslanders to strengthen it, one is afraid it will be found wanting. They are quite the weakest lot of footballers I have even seen come down from Queensland. The play needs no detailed description as it was simply a practice match for NSW, and certainly did not advantageously advertise the new game.
-The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 July 1908[3]

The interstate series was dominated by New South Wales, apart from a golden period for Queensland in the 1920s. From 1922 to 1925 Queensland defeated New South Wales 11 times in 12 matches. At the end of the 1925 season, a Kangaroo team was to be picked for touring Great Britain. Instead of announcing an Australian team dominated by Queenslanders, the Australian Rugby League Board of Control informed the media that the Rugby Football League had decided that the Kiwis would provide stronger opposition and that there would be no Australian tour.[4] The period spanning 1922 to 1929 saw no Australian team play in Great Britain, the only such hiatus outside the two World Wars.[5]

The New South Wales dominance of interstate football increased after 1956 when gaming machines were legalised for all registered clubs in New South Wales. This provided New South Wales football clubs with a revenue source unmatched by Queensland clubs. From this time on an increasing number of Queensland players moved to the much stronger Sydney competition, becoming ineligible for Queensland state selection. Paul Hogan famously told a Queensland Rugby League gathering in 1977 that "every time Queensland produces a good footballer, he finishes up being processed through a New South Wales poker machine."[6]

Before 1956, NSW had won 75% and Qld only 25% of series played. From 1956 to 1981, NSW dominance soared even higher and Qld wins dwindled to only 3.8% with only 1 series win, in 1959.

Conception of State of Origin football[edit]

By the 1970s the prestige of interstate matches had been seriously downgraded, in most part due to the fact that a number of Queensland players signed to NSW clubs could not unseat the NSW incumbent and also were not eligible for Queensland selection, so they did not play at all. Matches were played mid-week, so as not to interfere with the Sydney club competition, and the small crowds in New South Wales were hosted at suburban grounds.[11] Interstate football reached its nadir in 1977 when the New South Wales Rugby Football League (NSWRFL) declined to host the Queensland team, and both interstate games were played in Queensland.[7]

Former Queensland captain and Australian vice-captain Jack Reardon, who had later become a journalist, was the first to suggest that Sydney-based Queenslanders should be available for selection to represent their state.[12]

Brisbane Courier-Mail reporter Hugh Lunn, Barry Maranta (the future co-founder of the Brisbane Broncos) [8] and Maranta's business partner Wayne Reid played a part in persuading QRL chairman Ron McAullife that the concept could be used in rugby league.[9] Lunn told McAullife that "you can take the Queenslander out of Queensland, Ron, but you can't take the Queensland out of the Queenslander."[10] McAuliffe was initially skeptical. "What if we recall our boys from Sydney to play, and we are beaten. Where would we go from there?" Reid spoke to NSWRFL president Kevin Humphreys and suggested that a one-off state of origin match could be used as a Test Match selection trial. [11]

New South Wales clubs were reticent in their support of the concept and set two conditions:

  • If the third game was to decide the series it was not to act as a selection trial, and also,
  • that the expatriate Queenslanders would be under the supervision of a representative of the NSWRFL whose duty it would be to protect the interests of both the NSWRFL and the clubs to which they were contracted. (From 1980 this role was filled by Bob Abbott, a Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks official.)

Three Sydney clubs remained opposed to the plan: St. George Dragons, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Eastern Suburbs Roosters. As these clubs were refusing to release players, Humphreys threatened to make the game an official Australian Rugby League trial, which would make release mandatory. The clubs backed down.[12]


After Queensland lost the first two interstate matches in 1980 (35–3 and 17–7, the second game in front of only 1,638 Sydneysiders) it was announced that a 'state of origin' match would take place on 8 July at Lang Park in Brisbane. The New South Wales media gave both the event and Queensland's chance of winning it, little credence, calling the game a "three-day wonder". Australia's 1978 captain Bob Fulton called the match "the non-event of the century". Ron MacAullife, however, was now committed to the concept and vigorously promoted the match. Thousands of tickets were sold before the game had been officially sanctioned. Although interstate matches in Brisbane had still been well attended (24,653 had attended the opening match of the 1979 series), few expected the sell-out crowd of 33,210 Queensland rugby league fans, delighted to see their heroes in the likes of Arthur Beetson representing their home state for the first time. Queensland convincingly beat New South Wales 20–10.[13]

I was strongly against such a match, but last night's gripping clash showed that such a fixture would be a welcome addition to the League program.[13]

— Alan Clarkson, journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October 1980

In 1981 the first two interstate matches were again played under the old selection rules. As New South Wales won the first two matches in the series, state of origin selection rules were used once more in the third match. Although New South Wales ran out to an early 15–0 lead in the game, Queensland rallied to win 22–15.


The first State of Origin shield, depicting Queensland's Wally Lewis and New South Wales' Brett Kenny.

The interest generated by the experimental state of origin matches of 1980 and 1981 and the potential for financial rewards were enough to convince the authorities to play all three games under the state of origin rules the following year.[14]

The State of Origin format is the only possible way to allow the interstate series to survive.

— Frank Hyde (2 June 1982)[14]

Despite the Maroons' success so far in the State of Origin experiments, the New South Wales media dismissed the seriousness of the Queensland threat to the Blues' long-held dominance in series wins. Queensland, under the leadership of immortal captain Wally Lewis, was inspired by this, and for the first three State of Origin series, Queensland won 2 matches to 1.

However, in 1985, under the leadership of captain Steve Mortimer, New South Wales won the deciding match in front of 39,068 spectators at the Sydney Cricket Ground, claiming the series for the first time. The following year the Blues were able to go one better and complete the first state of origin whitewash, taking the series 3–0.[15]

1987: American match[edit]

After Queensland had won the 1987 series 2–1, a fourth game was played at Long Beach, California to showcase rugby league to the American public.[16]

The match was played at the Veterans Memorial Stadium in Long Beach, California in front of 12,349 fans. The Blues won the game 30–18.

On 15 July 2003 the Australian Rugby League announced that the fourth 1987 game was to be classified as an official match, and that a win in the state of origin match on 16 July 2003 would take New South Wales into the overall lead.

ARL chief executive Geoff Carr said: "There had been some debate over whether the Origin fixture . . . in 1987 was counted as an official match but a search of ARL records has confirmed the status conferred on that clash by the game's governing body at the time. In announcing the match in Big League in April 1987, Ken Arthurson, the ARL's chief executive in 1987, was quoted as saying 'It's an exciting experiment but the match isn't and won't be billed as an exhibition match'."


The Queensland halves pairing of Allan Langer and Wally Lewis led the Maroons in their 3–0 series wins in both 1988 and 1989. The rise of the Canberra Raiders in the then Winfield Cup club competition produced for the Blues the formidable halves combination of Ricky Stuart and Laurie Daley who brought New South Wales back from defeat in the opening game with two wins in the 1990 series. It was evident that as the rivalry between the two states grew, the Origin matches had become much more physical forward orientated game than the open running play seen in earlier series.[17]

As the great Queensland players from the 1980s began to retire from the game, the Maroons struggled with a team of fresh faces and considerable inexperience. 1992, 1993 and 1994 series all went to NSW as the talent and experience of Blues players such as Brett Mullins, Daley and Stuart in the backs and Benny Elias and Bradley Clyde in the forwards gave the Blues the edge when the games were on the line. It wasn't until the upheaval of the Super League war in 1995 that the Maroons were able to again clinch a series.

The main cause for concern for Queensland was the fact that the Brisbane Broncos, its players and many other Queenslanders were not aligned with the ARL prohibiting any players signed with the Super League to play for the Maroons. Despite this, the Queenslanders won the 1995 series 3–0 in a shocking white-wash. The 1996 series saw the off-field contract dramas put aside as all players were allowed, regardless of contract, state of origin selection. Having the majority of the Queenslanders back didn't help the Maroons though as the Blues 1996 white-wash with a 3–0 series win of their own.

The Australian game divided in 1997 into two competitions, one run by the ARL and one by the News Limited-owned Super League, and an interstate series was played in each. Under the Super League banner, there was a Tri-Origin series with a New Zealand side added to the competition. The ARL meanwhile stuck to its traditional format. The teams were selected using origin rules, and New South Wales and Queensland met twice. These matches do not count towards the official state of origin record. As with the premiership, players were spread between two representative tournaments as well.

The competitions merged again in 1998 as the current National Rugby League, and the series that year proved to be enthralling as both sides won a game each away from home, setting up a decider at the Sydney Football Stadium where 39,000 fans witnessed the visiting Queenslanders take the series 2–1. The end of the decade saw a dramatic series with each side taking one game each and game three ending in a draw. Queensland was awarded the series as at the time the previous winners retained the interstate honors.


The early to mid-2000s saw New South Wales starting to assert its traditional interstate dominance, causing some critics to question the future of State of Origin. However, this imbalance tipped in the third and deciding game of the 2006 State of Origin series, which is seen as the starting point of Queensland's unprecedented dynasty. Queensland followed by winning the 2007 series, as well as the 2008 series, which made Queensland's streak three series in a row. New South Wales won Game 1 on 21 May 2008, however, Queensland won Game 2 on 11 June 2008, and Game 3 on 2 July 2008. Queensland continued to follow this up by winning the first two games of the 2009 series becoming the first state to win four series in a row.


The first of the 2018 games, played at Melbourne Cricket Ground

In 2010, Queensland won its historic, record-breaking, fifth consecutive Origin series with a 23–18 win in the third and final match. This was the first Queensland team to win all three consecutive State of Origin Games in 15 years. Queensland full back Billy Slater won the man of the match in the third game and was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal as Man of the Series in 2010. The 2010 State of Origin series was also the second televised program in Australia to be shot in 3D 1080i DVB-T as well as being simultaneously broadcast in regular 576i and 1080i DVB-T and PAL.

In the first game of the 2011 series, Queensland defeated New South Wales 16–12. In the second game, New South Wales defeated Queensland 18–8. Queensland won the series 34–24 in the 2011 decider in what was Queensland captain Darren Lockyer's 36th and final game. Cameron Smith won the man of the match in both the first and third game and was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal as Man of the Series.

In 2012, then NRL CEO David Gallop introduced the Under-20s State of Origin for Toyota Cup players which saw New South Wales winning. Queensland went on to win a historic 7th series win in 2012, winning the final game by 1 point.

In 2013, New South Wales defeated Queensland 14 to 6 in game 1, Queensland defeated New South Wales 26 to 6 in game 2, while in-game 3 Queensland defeated New South Wales 12 to 10 to take out the overall Origin title for the eighth consecutive time. The 2013 series set a new State of Origin television rating record for a whole series since the 2001 introduction of the rating system.[15]

In 2014, New South Wales defeated Queensland 12–8 in the first game of the series, and 6–4 in the second.[16] In the third game Queensland defeated New South Wales 32-8 after scoring the first try of the game in the 37th minute, with Queensland leading 6–2 in the first half. This gave the Blues the first series win in 8 years.

In 2015, Queensland defeated New South Wales 11–10 in game 1 played in Sydney, New South Wales defeated Queensland 26–18 in game 2 played in Melbourne, Queensland defeated New South Wales 52–6 in game 3 played in Brisbane, winning the series 2–1.

In 2016, Queensland defeated New South Wales 6–4 in game 1 and clinched the series with a 26–16 win in the second match. New South Wales closed off the series with an 18–14 win over Queensland.

In 2017, New South Wales won Game 1, 28-4 sparking the New South Wales media to start proclaiming the beginning of the Blues Dynasty.[citation needed] Queensland won Game 2, 18-16 after making changes to the team with the returning Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston, who kicked the winning goal for Queensland. Thurston injured his shoulder in the 30th minute of the match, essentially disabling it as he played out the whole match. Thurston was later ruled out for the rest of the year after scans revealed his shoulder needed a reconstruction, ending his representative career as he announced 2017 would be his last representative year. In Game 3, New South Wales went in with an unchanged lineup for all three games, the first to do so since 1996. Queensland dominated the Blues, winning 22–6, with Queensland winger Dane Gagai winning the Wally Lewis Medal for Best Player in the series. It also had Johnathan Thurston raise the Origin Shield with Queensland Captain Cameron Smith, before being chaired off the ground by his teammates, ending Thurston's representative career on a high note.

In 2018, New South Wales won their first State of Origin series in four years, defeating Queensland 22–12 and 18–14 in the first two games. Queensland scored a consolation victory 18–12 in the final game.

In 2019, Queensland defeated New South Wales in the first match 18–14. New South Wales then defeated Queensland 38–6 in the second and also won the third game 26–20. This was the first time since 2005 which New South Wales won a series decider and a consecutive series win.


In 2020, Ampol became the naming rights partner of the series until at least 2023, taking over from Holden.[17]

The 2020 series was originally due to be played during the middle of the season, but was shifted to the post-season for the first time in history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the suspension of all non-essential services in March. The series was played on consecutive Wednesday nights in November (4th, 11th, and 18th), with the venues for the fixtures designated as: Adelaide Oval, ANZ Stadium and Suncorp Stadium. Game 1, held for the first time in Adelaide, saw Queensland beat New South Wales in a nail biting 18–14 win. At half time, the Blues were leading the Maroons 10–0, but a huge upset secured the game for Queensland. Game 2 held in Sydney, New South Wales, at ANZ Stadium, was a blue wave. Queensland scored the first try but eventually lost the game to New South Wales 34–10. Game 3 was held in Brisbane on the 18th of November at Suncorp Stadium and was a physical match which saw Queensland regain the shield with a 20–14 win over New South Wales. Cameron Munster was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal for his exceptional performances throughout the series, despite being out due to HIA for most of Game 2.

Game 1 of the 2021 series was held at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville on 9 June, moved from the MCG after another COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne.[18] This became the first Origin match to be played in a regional centre. New South Wales then recorded their biggest win in series history, defeating Queensland 50–6.[19]

2021 State of Origin Game 1 Queensland Country Bank Stadium Performing the Australian National Anthem
Queensland Country Bank Stadium for State of Origin Game 1 2021 in Townsville

NSW would go on to win the series with a 26-0 win against Queensland at Suncorp, with Queensland gaining a consolation win by defeating NSW 20-18 on the Gold Coast, with the venue being required due to the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.


New South Wales's Stadium Australia (top) and Queensland's Lang Park (bottom) are the tournament's current venues.


Venue City No. of games Highest crowd Lowest crowd
Lang Park (Brisbane Stadium/Suncorp Stadium) Brisbane 52 52,540 16,559
Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC Stadium) Brisbane 2 49,441 47,989
Queensland Country Bank Stadium Townsville 1 27,533 27,533
Robina Stadium Gold Coast 1 26,307 26,307

New South Wales[edit]

Venue City No. of games Highest crowd Lowest crowd
Stadium Australia (Telstra Stadium/ANZ Stadium) Sydney 25 88,336 55,421
Sydney Football Stadium (Allianz Stadium) Sydney 14 41,955 16,910
Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) Sydney 6 42,048 20,242

Interstate & International[edit]

Venue City State Country No. of games Highest crowd Lowest crowd
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) Melbourne Victoria Australia 4 91,513 25,105
Docklands Stadium Melbourne Victoria Australia 3 56,021 50,967
Olympic Park Stadium Melbourne Victoria Australia 1 25,800
Veterans Memorial Stadium Long Beach California United States 1 12,439
Optus Stadium Perth Western Australia Australia 1 59,721
Adelaide Oval Adelaide South Australia Australia 1 25,218[20]


Crowds at the second game of 2009

In 2013, each individual game in the series drew a higher Australian television audience than any other sporting event.[21] In recent years the series has gained popularity outside of New South Wales and Queensland, with games played in Melbourne drawing record crowds for rugby league[22] and local television ratings comparable to those of some Victorian AFL matches.[23] Internationally, the series is televised in 91 countries,[24] and is a national obsession in Papua New Guinea, occasionally sparking riots, violence and deaths.[25][26] It also draws a strong following in neighbouring New Zealand.[27]


Within Australia, Nine Network is the main broadcaster for the series, with replays airing on Fox Sports. The series is also broadcast on radio by ABC Grandstand.

Setanta Sports broadcasts live matches in Asia. In the United States, Fox Soccer televised all matches live using the Nine feed since 2011, with the coverage moving to Fox Sports 2 when Fox Soccer was discontinued in August 2013.[28][29] Sky Sports broadcasts live coverage of State of Origin in the UK.

Roy and HG's State of Origin commentary was once broadcast on Australian youth radio network Triple J. This broadcast was presented by the characters "Rampaging" Roy Slaven and HG Nelson (played by John Doyle and Greig Pickhaver), who commentated the game with a unique comedic style. Roy and HG's broadcasts began in the late 1980s and continued until 2008. Roy and HG moved from Triple J to radio network Triple M in 2009, at which point the duo ceased their State of Origin commentary.

Australian metropolitan television viewers since 2010
Year Viewers (millions) Yearly rank Ref.
2010 G1 2.468 8 [30]
G2 2.172 13
G3 1.786 31
2011 G1 2.245 12 [31]
G2 2.165 14
G3 2.492 8
2012 G1 2.532 12 [32]
G2 2.512 14
G3 2.694 9
2013 G1 2.450 7 [33]
G2 2.250 13
G3 2.600 5
2014 G1 2.530 7 [34]
G2 2.600 5
G3 2.057 18
2015 G1 2.349 4 [35]
G2 2.517 2
G3 2.255 5
2016 G1 2.735 3 [36]
G2 2.424 5
G3 2.141 6
2017 G1 2.374 7 [37]
G2 2.404 6
G3 2.523 5
2018 G1 2.347 3 [38]
G2 2.132 5
G3 1.769 13
2019 G1 2.192 2 [39]
G2 1.989 6
G3 2.020 4
2020 G1 1.606 9 [40]
G2 1.654 7
G3 1.894 5
2021 G1 1.911 TBA
G2 1.862 TBA
G3 1.746 TBA

Selection rules[edit]

Under State of Origin rules players were previously selected for the state in which they first played senior (or registered) rugby league.[18][citation needed] In 2012, the NSWRL, CRL, QRL and ARLC agreed on new criteria in determining Origin eligibility, to encompass other factors, such as place of birth.[19] Players must also be eligible to represent Australia at international level.


From time to time the selection of players under the State of Origin rules creates controversy. Since 1980, Queensland has completed just 7 series with a team completely made up of players of a Queensland birth, while for New South Wales the total is only 6.[41] However, the place of birth has only been a relevant factor in eligibility since 2012. The issue was parodied in the song "That's In Queensland".[42]

An issue of contention has been the selection of players such as Peter Sterling, Ken Nagas, James McManus, Israel Folau and Greg Inglis. Israel Folau was born and raised in New South Wales but is eligible to play for Queensland as he played his first senior rugby league match in Queensland. Ken Nagas was born and raised in Queensland but decided to play for New South Wales, Peter Sterling was born in Toowoomba, Queensland but raised in Wagga Wagga, Newcastle and Sydney, all in New South Wales, while McManus was born in Scotland and was raised in the Northern Territory, but was ruled eligible to play for New South Wales in the 2009 series.

The selection of Greg Inglis by Queensland was controversial. The Queensland Rugby League selected him based on the fact that Brisbane Norths was Inglis' first senior football club, as per the eligibility rules at the time.[43][44][45] However some claim that schoolboy competitions count as senior football and with Inglis having previously played for Hunter Sports High School in Newcastle, New South Wales, in the Arrive Alive Cup, he should have played for New South Wales.[46]

Due to the clarification of selection rules, the Sims brothers are eligible for different States. Tariq and Ashton are eligible for New South Wales while Korbin Sims is eligible for Queensland.[47] Previously father and son combinations, such as Steve and Mat Rogers have represented different states. This duo was especially notable because Mat was born in New South Wales and played for Queensland while Steve was born in Queensland and played for New South Wales. Steve Rogers played his first senior game of rugby league for the Southport Tigers on Queensland's Gold Coast, in an NSW CRL competition.

Foreign-born players have also represented each state. New Zealand has had several players, such as Brad Thorn, Ben Te'o, Craig Smith, Willie Mason, Tonie Carroll, James Tamou and Karmichael Hunt play Origin. Tamou's selection by New South Wales in 2012 was controversial as he was born in Palmerston North and played for the Junior Kiwis, lived in New Zealand until he moved to Sydney when he was 13 and was included in the New Zealand national rugby league team training squad for the 2011 Four Nations.[48] Both Hunt and Tamou played for Australia before being selected for the State of Origin. Other players, such as Sam Kasiano and Jason Taumalolo are also eligible, creating concern in the New Zealand Rugby League.[49] Apart from representing Queensland, Brad Thorn is also a dual rugby international, having played international rugby league for Australia, and international rugby union for the All Blacks.

Papua New Guinea-born Adrian Lam and Fijian-born Lote Tuqiri, Akuila Uate and Petero Civoniceva have also played Origin. Benny Elias was born in Lebanon and has played for and captained NSW. Mario Fenech was born in Malta and has played for NSW. The most recent case of a foreign-born player being selected was the selection of former Samoan international, Ben Te'o, by Queensland in game three of the 2012 season.[50]

A report into eligibility based on a player's birth state showed; "Of the 18 series that QLD has won, it had the greater percentage of non-State [born] players in its side on 14 of those occasions – revealing a 77.8% dependency. Of the 13 series that NSW has won, on five of those occasions, it had a higher percentage of non-State [born] players across the series – revealing a 38.5% dependency."[41]


  1. In 1995 and 1997 Super League players were made ineligible for the ARL State of Origin series selection. This included most of Queensland's usual team, who now plays for the Super League affiliated Brisbane Broncos. The ARL hence decided to relax the rules in those years, allowing Queensland to select Adrian Lam who had previously played for Papua New Guinea. The 1995 Origin series was the scene of the biggest upset in Origin history when the relatively inexperienced Maroons swept aside NSW, who even without their Super League players could still boast several senior Origin and international players, 3–0.
  2. During the 2000 World Cup several Australian players were granted dispensations to appear for other nations under the grandparent rule. The players affected were David Barnhill (NSW, Ireland), Kevin Campion (Qld, Ireland), Tonie Carroll (Qld, New Zealand), Graham Mackay (NSW, Scotland), Willie Mason (NSW, Tonga), Luke Ricketson (NSW, Ireland), Lote Tuqiri (Qld, Fiji) and Adrian Vowles (Qld, Scotland), [20] [21]


Year by year[edit]

Of the 40 full series played, Queensland has won 22, New South Wales 16, with 2 series drawn (Queensland retained the Shield on both occasions as the previous year's winner). With the addition of three one-off games that were played in 1980, 1981 and 1987, the total number of games played is 117. Queensland have won 62, New South Wales have won 53, with 2 matches being drawn.[51]

The series of 1999 and 2002 are considered drawn series, as both New South Wales and Queensland won a single game of each 3 match series, with the final game concluding in a draw. At that time there was no overtime rule to break the deadlock, and by the same set of rules, Queensland retained the shield as they were the previous holders, but did not win the series. Due to the controversy around the second drawn series, and the rule awarding the series champions to Queensland, the rules were subsequently changed to rule out drawn matches and series. Equal points at the close of full-time are now resolved with the golden point method.

State of Origin series
Year Winner Wins Losses Drawn Shield holder
1982 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
1983 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
1984 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
1985 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
1986 NSW 3 0 0 NSW
1987 QLD 2 1[22] 0 QLD
1988 QLD 3 0 0 QLD
1989 QLD 3 0 0 QLD
1990 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
1991 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
1992 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
1993 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
1994 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
1995 QLD 3 0 0 QLD
1996 NSW 3 0 0 NSW
1997 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
1998 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
1999 Draw 1 1 1 QLD
2000 NSW 3 0 0 NSW
2001 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2002 Draw 1 1 1 QLD
2003 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
2004 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
2005 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
2006 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2007 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2008 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2009 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2010 QLD 3 0 0 QLD
2011 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2012 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2013 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2014 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
2015 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2016 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2017 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2018 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
2019 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
2020 QLD 2 1 0 QLD
2021 NSW 2 1 0 NSW
State of Origin non-series matches
Year Winner Wins Losses Drawn
1980 QLD 1 0 0
1981 QLD 1 0 0
1987 NSW 1 0 0

Wally Lewis Medal[edit]

The Wally Lewis Medal was awarded by the Queensland Rugby League for the Queensland player of the series from 1992 to 2003, when The Ron McAuliffe Medal replaced it as the Queensland exclusive award. From 2004 onwards it has been awarded to the player of the series irrespective of state, to the following players:

Year Player State Position Club
2004 Craig Fitzgibbon NSW Lock Sydney Roosters
2005 Anthony Minichiello NSW Fullback Sydney Roosters
2006 Darren Lockyer QLD Five-eighth Brisbane Broncos
2007 Cameron Smith QLD Hooker Melbourne Storm
2008 Johnathan Thurston QLD Halfback, Five-eighth North Queensland Cowboys
2009 Greg Inglis QLD Centre Melbourne Storm
2010 Billy Slater QLD Fullback Melbourne Storm
2011 Cameron Smith QLD Hooker Melbourne Storm
2012 Nate Myles QLD Second-row Gold Coast Titans
2013 Cameron Smith QLD Hooker Melbourne Storm
2014 Paul Gallen NSW Lock, Prop Cronulla Sharks
2015 Corey Parker QLD Lock Brisbane Broncos
2016 Cameron Smith QLD Hooker Melbourne Storm
2017 Dane Gagai QLD Wing Newcastle Knights
2018 Billy Slater QLD Fullback Melbourne Storm
2019 James Tedesco NSW Fullback Sydney Roosters
2020 Cameron Munster QLD Five-eighth Melbourne Storm
2021 Tom Trbojevic NSW Centre Manly Sea Eagles
  • italics denotes player won it from the losing state.



  • Most points scored in a game: 72, New South Wales 56 - 16 Queensland (Game III, 2000)
  • Most points scored by a team: 56, New South Wales 56 - 16 Queensland (Game III, 2000)
  • Largest winning margin: 46, Queensland 52 - 6 New South Wales (Game III, 2015)
  • Most consecutive games won: 8, Queensland (Game II, 1987 - Game III, 1989)
  • Most consecutive series won: 8, Queensland (20062013)
  • Most series clean sweeps: 4, Queensland (19881989, 1995, 2010)


  • Oldest player: 36 years 74 days, Petero Civoniceva (2012) (Queensland)
  • Youngest player: 18 years and 83 days, Ben Ikin (1995) (Queensland)


1.^ Smith, and Thurston competed in at least one game associated with each series wins.


  • Most games: 30 Mal Meninga (2006–2015) (Queensland)
  • Most games won: 19 Mal Meninga (2006–2015) (Queensland)
  • Most series won: 9 Mal Meninga (2006–2015) (Queensland)

Other Records[edit]

Players still currently active are listed in bold.


Basic records
Venue Games NSW Drw Qld NSW pts QLD pts Total pts
Lang Park 58 20 1 37 845 (140-145-5) 1093 (184-180-8) 1938 (344-325-13)
S.C.G 6 3 0 3 68 (12-10-1) 76 (14-11-0) 144 (26-21-1)
Long Beach 2 1 0 1 48 (8-8-0) 38 (6-7-0) 86 (14-15-0)
S.F.S 14 6 0 8 189 (33-28-1) 199 (34-31-1) 388 (77-59-2)
Olympic 1 1 0 0 12 (2-2-0) 6 (1-1-0) 18 (3-3-0)
M.C.G 5 4 0 1 89 (15-14-1) 64 (11-10-0) 153 (26-24-1)
Stadium Australia 29 19 1 9 565 (97-86-5) 380 (68-53-2) 945 (165-139-7)
QEII 2 0 0 2 32 (5-6-0) 66 (13-7-0) 98 (18-13-0)
Docklands 3 0 0 3 42 (8-5-0) 62 (11-9-0) 104 (19-14-0)
Perth Stadium 1 1 0 0 38 (6-7-0) 6 (1-1-0) 44 (7-8-0)
Adelaide 1 0 0 1 14 (3-1-0) 18 (3-3-0) 32 (6-4-0)
North Queensland Stadium 1 1 0 0 50 (8-9-0) 6 (1-1-0) 56 (9-10-0)
Totals 122 55 2 65 2003 (337-321-13) 2014 (347-314-11) 4018 (681-635-24)
Leading try scorers
Try Scorer State Games Tries (ave.)
Greg Inglis QLD 32 18 (0.56)
Darius Boyd QLD 28 17(0.61)
Dale Shearer QLD 26 12 (0.46)
Billy Slater QLD 31 12 (0.39)
Dane Gagai QLD 19 11 (0.58)
Jarryd Hayne NSW 23 11 (0.48)
Michael O'Connor NSW 19 11 (0.58)
Josh Addo-Carr NSW 12 10 (0.83)
Allan Langer QLD 34 10 (0.29)
Tom Trbojevic NSW 8 9 (1.28)
Valentine Holmes QLD 10 9 (1.00)
Darren Lockyer QLD 36 9 (0.25)
Timana Tahu NSW 12 8 (0.67)
Anthony Minichiello NSW 11 8 (0.50)
Brad Fittler NSW 31 7 (0.80)
Leading point scores
Point scorers State Games Tries Goals Field goals Points average (%)
Johnathan Thurston QLD 37 5 99 2 220 (5.95)
Mal Meninga QLD 32 6 69 0 161 (5.03)
Michael O'Connor NSW 19 11 42 1 129 (6.79)
Andrew Johns NSW 23 4 38 4 96 (4.17)
Darren Lockyer QLD 36 9 22 2 82 (2.28)
Ryan Girdler NSW 8 7 27 0 82 (10.25)
Greg Inglis QLD 32 18 0 0 72 (2.25)
James Maloney NSW 14 2 31 0 70 (5.00)
Darius Boyd QLD 28 17 0 0 68 (2.43)
Dale Shearer QLD 26 12 6 0 66 (2.54)
Rod Wishart NSW 22 5 22 0 64 (2.91)
Venue stats
Venue State Games Total attendance Average
Lang Park QLD 58 2,357,336 40,643
S.C.G NSW 6 192,773 32,128
Long Beach Neutral 1 12,439 12,439
S.F.S NSW 14 521,836 37,274
Olympic Neutral 1 25,800 25,800
M.C.G Neutral 5 343,895 68,779
Stadium Australia NSW 29 2,145,875 73,995
QEII QLD 2 97,430 48,715
Docklands Neutral 3 161,821 53,940
Perth Stadium Neutral 1 59,271 59,271
Adelaide Neutral 1 25,218 25,218
North Queensland Stadium QLD 1 27,533 27,533
Total 122 5,971,227 48,944
Appearance stats
Players State Games Years
Cameron Smith QLD 42 2003-2017
Johnathan Thurston QLD 37 2005-2017
Darren Lockyer QLD 36 1998-2011
Allan Langer QLD 34 1987-2002
Petero Civoniceva QLD 33 2001-2012
Mal Meninga QLD 32 1980-1994
Nate Myles QLD 32 2006-2017
Greg Inglis QLD 32 2006-2018
Wally Lewis QLD 31 1980-1991
Billy Slater QLD 31 2004-2018
Brad Fittler NSW 31 1990-2004
Leading goal kickers
Players State Games Goals/attempts (%)
Nathan Cleary NSW 10 29/33 (87.88%)
Jamie Soward NSW 3 9/11 (81.82%)
James Maloney NSW 14 31/38 (81.58%)
Mat Rogers QLD 5 12/15 (80.00%)
Jamie Lyon NSW 10 8/10 (80.00%)
Johnathan Thurston QLD 37 96/121 (79.34%)
Trent Hodkinson NSW 6 12/16 (75.00%)
Tim Brasher NSW 21 9/12 (75.00%)
Craig Fitzgibbon NSW 11 20/27 (74.07%)
Darren Lockyer QLD 36 22/30 (73.33%)
Ryan Girdler NSW 8 27/37 (72.97%)
Cameron Smith QLD 42 16/22 (72.73%)
Most points scored in a games
Players State Tries Goals Field goals Points Game
Ryan Girdler NSW 3 10 0 32 Game 3, 2000
Lote Tuqiri QLD 3 3 0 18 Game 2, 2002
Johnathan Thurston QLD 0 9 0 18 Game 3, 2015
Michael O'Connor NSW 2 5 0 18 Game 1, 1985
Mal Meninga QLD 2 4 0 16 Game 1, 1989
Darren Lockyer QLD 2 4 0 16 Game 3, 2001
Dale Shearer QLD 2 4 0 16 Game 3, 1989
Nathan Cleary NSW 0 8 0 16 Game 1, 2021
Mal Meninga QLD 0 7 0 14 Game 1, 1980
Darren Lockyer QLD 1 5 0 14 Game 1, 2001
Johnathan Thurston QLD 0 7 0 14 Game 2, 2008
Michael O'Connor NSW 1 5 0 14 Game 4,1987
Series list
Year Winners Games Crowd average
1982 Queensland 3 22,334
1983 Queensland 3 25,705
1984 Queensland 3 26,426
1985 New South Wales 3 30,301
1986 New South Wales 3 31,623
1987 Queensland 3 36,020
1988 Queensland 3 25,056
1989 Queensland 3 35,452
1990 New South Wales 3 32,817
1991 Queensland 3 35,715
1992 New South Wales 3 37,806
1993 New South Wales 3 35,465
1994 New South Wales 3 56,340
1995 Queensland 3 44,122
1996 New South Wales 3 39,480
1997 New South Wales 3 28,856
1998 Queensland 3 38,490
1999 Draw (Queensland retain) 3 55,267
2000 New South Wales 3 53,025
2001 Queensland 3 52,866

Under 20s[edit]

The Under 20s State of Origin has only had eight seasons so far (2012 to 2019)[52] with only one game a year, instead of three. New South Wales has won seven of the eight, with Queensland winning their first in 2018.[53] They play for the Darren Lockyer Shield.

Year Winner Wins Losses Drawn
2012 NSW 1 0 0
2013 NSW 1 0 0
2014 NSW 1 0 0
2015 NSW 1 0 0
2016 NSW 1 0 0
2017 NSW 1 0 0
2018 QLD 1 0 0
2019 NSW 1 0 0

Women's State of Origin[edit]

The Women's State of Origin is the Women's rugby league version of the game and has been running since 1999. The players play for the Nellie Doherty Cup. The current record for number of series won in the competition is held by Queensland, which won every series from 1999 to 2014 (a longer straight record than their male counterparts).

Year Winner Wins Losses Drawn
1999 QLD 1 0 0
2000 QLD 1 0 0
2001 QLD 1 0 0
2002 QLD 1 0 0
2003 QLD 1 0 0
2004 QLD 2 0 0
2005 QLD 1 0 0
2006 QLD 1 0 0
2007 QLD 1 0 0
2008 QLD 2 0 0
2009 QLD 1 0 0
2010 QLD 1 0 0
2011 QLD 1 0 0
2012 QLD 1 0 0
2013 QLD 1 0 0
2014 QLD 1 0 0
2015 Draw 0 0 1
2016 NSW 1 0 0
2017 NSW 1 0 0
2018 NSW 1 0 0
2019 NSW 1 0 0
2020 QLD 1 0 0
2021 QLD 1 0 0

All-Team Records[edit]

  • Points

Queensland: 1994 Points

New South Wales: 2000 Points

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Melissa Jane Johnson Morgan & Jane Summers (2005). Sports Marketing. Thomson Learning Nelson. p. 8. ISBN 9780170128599.
  2. ^ "The countdown is on to sport's greatest rivalry!". 9 May 2012. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  3. ^ Tasker, Norman (2005). State of Origin: twenty-five years of sport's greatest rivalry. Caringbah, New South Wales: Playright Publishing. ISBN 0949853933.
  4. ^ "Rep season officially launched". 5 April 2006. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Eye of the storm". The Sydney Morning Herald. 23 June 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  6. ^ Susie Ashworth, Paul Smitz, Carolyn Bain and Neal Bedford (2004). Australia. Lonely Planet. p. 132. ISBN 9781740594479.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Harms, John (2005). The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story. Australia: University of Queensland Press. p. 105. ISBN 9780702235368.
  8. ^ Webster, Andrew (April 2004). "A few drinks with Ray Warren". Inside Sport. Australia: Archived from the original on 20 September 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2009.
  9. ^ Vanessa Battersby; Paul Smitz; Barry Blake (2007). Australian language & culture. Lonely Planet. p. 83. ISBN 9781740590990.
  10. ^ Mackay, Jamie (17 July 2009). "State of Origin in league of its own". The Southland Times. Fairfax New Zealand Limited. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  11. ^ Middleton, David (2008). League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (PDF). National Museum of Australia. p. 27. ISBN 9781876944643. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2011. Archived 7 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Gallaway, Jack (2003). Origin: Rugby League's greatest contest 1980–2002. Australia: University of Queensland Press. pp. xi. ISBN 9780702233838.
  13. ^ Clarkson, Alan (10 July 1980). "Football lessons by Maroons". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 48. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  14. ^ Hyde, Frank (2 June 1982). "Time to combine the old and new". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 30. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  15. ^ Bodey, Michael (18 July 2013). "State of Origin breaks audience records". The Australian. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  16. ^ Roar, The. "2014 State of Origin 1 full-time result". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Ampol takes over State of Origin sponsorship". National Rugby League. 26 October 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  18. ^ Geleit, Lachlan. "ORIGIN GAME 1 MOVED FROM MCG TO TOWNSVILLE". Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  19. ^ AAP (9 June 2021). "Trbojevic inspires NSW to record 50-6 State of Origin win over Queensland". Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  20. ^ "Blues v Maroons - Game 1, 2020 - Match Centre - NRL". NRL. 4 November 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  21. ^ Lallo, Michael (29 October 2013). "The X Factor a winner in the ratings, as Ten slumps". The Age. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  22. ^ "Ministers say 'game on' with State of Origin series set to kick off in Melbourne". Premier of Victoria. Victorian Government. 18 August 2011. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  23. ^ Ritson, Mark (13 June 2013). "Channel Nine the State of Origin's real winner". BRW. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  24. ^ ARLC Media (3 June 2013). "Origin set to reach its biggest market yet". New South Wales Rugby League. New South Wales Rugby League. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  25. ^ "Fiercest origin passions erupt in PNG". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 May 2004. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  26. ^ "Security boosted in PNG for State of Origin 2 after first round violence". Australia Network News. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  27. ^ "Big NZ Television Audience for State of Origin Opener". 6 June 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  28. ^ "Live Origin broadcast by America's FOX Sports". NRL. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  29. ^ "Fox Soccer Plus Acquires Australia's Nrl Telstra Premiership and Rugby League State of Origin Series" (PDF). Fox Sports Media Group. 29 February 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  30. ^ Knox, David (4 December 2012). "2010: The Top 100". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 7 July 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  31. ^ Knox, David (5 November 2020). "The Block "Winner Announced" tops 2011". TV Tonight. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  32. ^ Knox, David (4 December 2012). "2012 Ratings: Seven wins Total People, Nine wins Demos". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  33. ^ "The ratings reality show: the most watched TV of 2013". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 December 2013. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  34. ^ Hardie, Giles (24 November 2014). "TV ratings 2014: all the winners and losers". The New Daily. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  35. ^ Knox, David (30 November 2015). "2015 ratings: Seven wins Total People, Nine tops Demos, TEN rises". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 29 September 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
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  41. ^ a b Stead, Chris (18 May 2015). "The Ultimate State of Origin Lineup Comparison". Finder. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  42. ^
  43. ^ Inglis sticks to colors Brisbane Times, 16 June 2012
  44. ^ Fed-up Meninga says NSW should stop bleating over Inglis Canberra Times, 19 April 2012
  45. ^ Why 'The State of Birth' doesn't work BigPond Sport, 21 June 2012
  46. ^ "Greg Inglis' dad defends his decision to become a Maroon".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  47. ^ Blues lose Korbin Sims to Queensland Newcastle Herald, 17 April 2012
  48. ^ Kiwis cranky about stopping NZ stars playing Origin Courier-Mail, 29 June 2012
  49. ^ Dark day when Kiwis choose maroon or blue, 1 July 2012
  50. ^ Song mocks Ben Te'o defection
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  1. ^ Fagan, Sean (2005). The Rugby Rebellion. RL1908. ISBN 0-9757563-0-3.
  2. "State of Origin 30 Years: 1980 – 2009" by Liam Hauser, Rockpool Publishing, ISBN 9781921295386
  3. "NSW v Queensland: 1908 – 1980" by Sean Fagan, RL1908, Retrieved 15 November 2005
  4. ^ "The First State of Origin" by Sean Fagan, RL1908, Retrieved 15 November 2005
  5. ^ "State of Origin History 1981–2004" by Sean Fagan, RL1908, Retrieved 15 November 2005
  6. ^ "The Origin of State of Origin" by Sean Fagan, RL1908, Retrieved 15 November 2005
  7. ^ Gallaway, Jack (2001). The Brisbane Broncos: The Team To Beat. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 0702233420.
  8. ^ Gallaway, Jack (2003). Origin: Rugby League's Greatest Contest 1980–2002. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 0-7022-3383-8.
  9. ^ McGregor, Adrian (2004). Wally Lewis: Forever the King. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 0-7022-3434-6.
  10. ^ "Overseas Players and State of Origin" by Jeff Wall, Crikey 12 April 2005, Retrieved 18 November 2005
  11. ^ "The Origins of State of Origin" by Jeff Wall, Crikey 23 May 2005, Retrieved 15 November 2005
  12. ^ "We Still Want Hunt"[dead link] National Rugby League, 21 March 2005, Retrieved 18 November 2005
  13. ^ "How it all began", no date, retrieved 8 May 2007

General records and statistics[edit]

  1. "State of Origin 30 Years: 1980 – 2009" by Liam Hauser, Rockpool Publishing, ISBN 9781921295386
  2. ^ Fagan, Sean (2005) "State of Origin Results 1980–2005" RL1908, Retrieved 15 November 2005
  3. ^ "History: State of Origin Results 1980–2003" by the Australian Rugby League, Retrieved 15 November 2005
  4. ^ "History" by The Roar, Retrieved 8 July 2016
  5. ^ "State of Origin Records" by the Queensland Rugby League, Retrieved 15 November 2005
  6. ^ "State of Origin Statistics" by World of Rugby League, Retrieved 15 November 2005
  7. ^ Official State of Origin website, Retrieved 15 November 2006

Sources disputing the 1987 Los Angeles match[edit]

  1. ^ Colman, Mike (26 November 2005) "Assigning History by asterisks" The Courier-Mail (page 61)
  2. ^ Dick, Barry (16 July 2003) "Origin Battle Rages On and Off the Field" The Courier-Mail (page 1)

Player lists[edit]

  1. ^ State of Origin website

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]