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Since 1980, New South Wales and Queensland have been at war with competing for the ultimate prizes in rugby league – the State of Origin shield and bragging rights for the next year. So far NSW has managed to win 40 matches and 12 series while Queensland leads with 43 match wins and 13 series wins.

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The Eighties Edit

Queensland rugby league team of the century painting by Dave Thomas

The QLD team as painted by Dave Thomas

With Arthur Beetson as the Queensland captain in 1980, it’s little wonder why Queensland won the one match series 20-10. From the moment Kerry Boustead scored the first try for Queensland, the game became one of the most coveted sporting events in Australia. With Beetson injured in 1981 and becoming the teams captain, Queensland was overwhelmed by NSW who were holding a magnificent score of 15-0, however with Wally Lewis as captain, the Maroons managed to overcome the Blues in a 22-15 Queensland victory for the match.

1982 was the first year that State of Origin organisers decided to hold a 2 match plus decider series. NSW triumphed in the first game but with an all-star cast in the Queensland team including Mal Meninga, Rod Morris and Wally Lewis and Queensland managed to win the 1982, 1983 and 1984 State of Origin series. 
NSW 1980's team

NSW 1980's team players

In 1985 Beetson retired from coaching and consequently NSW fired back with a spectacular first series win. With NSW halfback Steve Mortimer in fantastic form, Queensland just couldn’t gather up the strength and determination to win. Even with coaching legend Wayne Bennett coming to the rescue as coach in 1986, Queensland could not win any of the three games despite losing by small margins.

1987 marked a different year when Queensland hit back in games two and three to win the series.This also marked the year that Allan Langer debuted onto the Queensland State of Origin team and the controversial USA exhibition match where New South Wales won. The game sparked debate regarding whether it should count towards the player’s statistics but not the overall series scores. With the Queensland team heavily relying on Wally Lewis to captain the team, the 1988 series came as a blow to the Maroons as he was forced off the field in game one due to an injury and was banished by referee Mick Stone in game two. However the Blues still couldn’t manage to win a single game despite the efforts of Andrew Ettingshausen and Mark McGaw to secure just one win. Once again in 1989 New South Wales suffered a humiliating series loss, with the Maroons back in top form thanks to the return of Arthur Beetson as coach.

The NinetiesEdit

In 1990, New South Wales won their first game since 1987 to finally take home the series’ shield with their heads held high.

The 12th annual series marked the end of Wally Lewis’ State of Origin career and the replacement of Arthur Beetson as coach with New Zealander Graham Lowe. Game two was a memorable match with plenty of team against team violence taking place thanks to Blues player Mark Geyer and his volatile playing. After chopping down Queensland hooker Steve Walters and later fullback Paul Hauff, he was in strife with Lewis who provoked the NSW player in front of referee David Manson to get him sent off. It worked the second time round. At the end of the series, Queensland won after a fast-paced and hard hitting third match.

With Wally Lewis gone and becoming coach for 1993 and 1994, Mal Meninga took over as Queensland captain between 1992 and 1994; however the Blues dominated the games with the help of coach Phil Gould at both the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Lang Park. NSW won the series with a game two victory of 14-0 and 27-12 game three victory. The State of Origin suffered a blow in 1995 with players from the Super League Teams off limits to play for State of Origin.

As a result, novice Queensland Coach Paul Vautin ended up with a somewhat “baby” team with the biggest player being the international Dale Shearer. Obviously all the odds were on the Blues, with nine international players, to win however the Maroons defied the odds to win 2-0 in what was one of the most pivotal games in State of Origin history. The next two games saw NSW almost gain victory several times but it wasn’t enough and the underdog Queensland team won the series 3-0. The following year’s series was not as successful for Queensland despite the return of the Super League players they had lost the previous year.

New South Wales entered the series with guns blazing and took home all three games thanks to the superb playing skills of Laurie Daley and Andrew Ettingshausen. The Blues also made history by going through the entire series with an unchanged side. In 1997 the Super League Tri-Series took place, stealing Laurie Daley, Allan Langer, Ricky Stuart, Wendell Sailor, Gorden Tallis, Bradley Clyde and Kevin Walters from playing in the 18th Origin series. Queensland lost the series as well as their coach. Wayne Bennett came to the rescue again in 1998 along with the Super League player Allan Langer to win the series 2-1. 1999 marked a huge year with the State of Origin’s first draw with a 10-10 finish in the final match. New Queensland Coach Mark Murray was delighted with the Maroons able to keep the title and shield for another year however for the Blues it was an uninspiring finish to the series.

Moving into the Future Edit

The year 2000 saw the emergence of Gorden Tallis as the Queensland captain and the continuation of Brad Fittler’s captaincy of the NSW team. In the first game of the series Tallis was sent off the field for opposing the referee in a game which ended 20-16 in NSW’s favour. The Blues also won the second and third game, in which Blues centre Ryan Girdler played the greatest game in his rugby career.

The Maroons were defeated 56-16 and the NSW team broke six Origin records in the second half of the time. With Wayne Bennett coaching Queensland again in 2001, the Maroons smashed NSW 34-16 in their first game but this reversed in game two with NSW winning 26-8 thanks to Blues captain Brad Fittler and his two tries. Game three marked the retirement of Brad Fittler so it was an emotional game for all Blues supporters. However with Allan Langer returning to play for the Maroons, the Blues could not gain control on the field and lost 40-14 as a disappointing end to Fittler’s amazing Origin career. 2002 was the second drawn series in Origin history however the most memorable moments in the series was when Queensland

Rookie Justin Hodges gave NSW two tries due to in-goal mistakes and was crucified by Maroon’s supporters. Edit

New South Wales dominated the 2003 and 2004 State of Origin series with new coach Michael Hagan bringing Brad Fittler out of retirement to help the Blues achieve victory. 2005 marked Queensland’s third consecutive loss with Blues halfback Andrew Johns returning to help in games two and three.

The last game held at Suncorp Stadium attracted a total of 52,596 supporters, creating a new record for the grounds. In 2006 Queensland coach Mal Meninga recruited seven new players which resulted in a first game full of mistakes by the young players. However the Maroons did try to make a comeback and lost by one point; 17-16. Meninga and captain Darren Lockyer received a lot of media criticism after the NSW victory and as a result they managed to beat NSW in the second game 30-6 and the third game to take home another series win. In 2007 Queensland hooker Cameron Smith was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series with Queensland winning the series 2-1.

In game one, NSW player Brett Stewart scored the only try for NSW. But it is the second game of the series which is long remembered as the first victory for Queensland in the Telstra Stadium. After an 11-game losing streak on the games, the Lockyer led team managed a final game score 6-10. The third match was full of injuries with Dallas Johnson knocked out cold in the first minute of the game, followed by knee injuries to Greg Inglis and Brent Tate.

Due to the number of injuries, Queensland prop Steve Price pushed through the entire match, playing the total 80 minutes of game time. With Queensland on their third consecutive win in 2008, 2009 was a heated match with New South Wales desperate to regain the Origin shield. However with eight new Blues players on the field, Queensland’s outstanding international team smashed them in the first two games. The second match also marked the first time that every team in the NRL had provided a player for the Origin match.

Despite losing in the third match, Queensland managed to take home the shield for the fourth year. The final game was watched by a record breaking 3.48 million people.

Year by yearEdit

Of the 31 full series played to 2012, Queensland have won 17 & New South Wales 12, with 2 series drawn. Queensland have won 49 of the 94 matches, New South Wales winning 43 with two matches being drawn. The matches in 1980 and 1981 were one off experimental matches after New South Wales had already won the interstate series in both years, and are not counted towards statistics. In the table below, the colour of the year denotes the team that has won or retained the shield. 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 this point of time there was no overtime rule to break the deadlock, and by the same set of rules, Queensland retained the shield but did not win the series; as they were the previous holders. Due to 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.

Year Winner Wins Losses Drawn Shield Holder
1980 Queensland 1 0 0 Queensland
1981 Queensland 1 0 0 Queensland
1982 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
1983 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
1984 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
1985 New South Wales 2 1 0 New South Wales
1986 New South Wales 3 0 0 New South Wales
1987 Queensland 2 2[25] 0 Queensland
1988 Queensland 3 0 0 Queensland
1989 Queensland 3 0 0 Queensland
1990 New South Wales 2 1 0 New South Wales
1991 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
1992 New South Wales 2 1 0 New South Wales
1993 New South Wales 2 1 0 New South Wales
1994 New South Wales 2 1 0 New South Wales
1995 Queensland 3 0 0 Queensland
1996 New South Wales 3 0 0 New South Wales
1997 New South Wales 2 1 0 New South Wales
1998 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
1999 Drawn - Queensland 1 1 1 Queensland
2000 New South Wales 3 0 0 New South Wales
2001 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
2002 Drawn - Queensland 1 1 1 Queensland
2003 New South Wales 2 1 0 New South Wales
2004 New South Wales 2 1 0 New South Wales
2005 New South Wales 2 1 0 New South Wales
2006 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
2007 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
2008 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
2009 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
2010 Queensland 3 0 0 Queensland
2011 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland
2012 Queensland 2 1 0 Queensland

Individual recordsEdit



New South WalesEdit

Total State of OriginEdit



New South WalesEdit

  • Most Games – 24 Phil Gould (1992–1996, 2002–2004)
  • Most Wins – 14 Phil Gould (1992–1996, 2002–2004)
  • Most Series Wins – 6 Phil Gould (1992–1994, 1996, 2003–2004)

Total State of OriginEdit

  • Most Games – 24 Phil Gould (1992–1996, 2002–2004) (New South Wales)
  • Most Wins – 15 Mal Meninga (2006–present) (Queensland)
  • Most Series Wins – 7 Mal Meninga (2006–present) (Queensland)

2013 QLD player teamEdit

Billy SlaterEdit

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Billy Slater

The current Australian fullback (and twice Australia’s Greatest Athlete) is regarded as the ultimate competitor, and despite a few murmurs about moving Greg Inglis to his Rabbitohs position for Origin, Slater will once again slide into the Maroons number one jersey.


Darius Boyd

Darius BoydEdit

Darius Boyd has been selected after being cleared of serious injury. Boyd aims up in every Origin he is selected for, and will no doubt play a part to harass the Blues if he is right to play.

Greg InglisEdit


Greg Inglis

The Maroons footballing nuclear weapon, Inglis is in ridiculous form and is quickly closing in on one Kevin Sinfield for best player in the world status. Dangerous from anywhere on the park, it’ll be a matter of when not if Inglis will make his mark on this series (and hopefully not via a contentious Video ref decision).

Justin HodgesEdit


Justin Hodges

Another walk up start if fit, Hodges has the ability to beat defenders and off-load at will all whilst seemingly moving in slow motion. Public enemy number one South of the border, Hodges is a big match player who has never let the Maroons down. Ok maybe just once, but that was a looong time ago!

Brent TateEdit

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Brent Tate

While he seems to have been around forever and can occasionally have a dud club match, Tate always brings his A game to Origin. A player who grows an extra couple of inches for these games, Tate is great for getting his scoot on out of dummy half and will cop anything the Blues throw his way in attack square on the chin.

Johnathan ThurstonEdit

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Johnathan Thurston

May come into camp a little late after the birth of his child but don’t expect it to affect his game preparation. With a decent seven and nine to help him out for a change Thurston will be firing on all cylinders, and is just as adept at running the footy as he is booting it down the field.

Cooper CronkEdit

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Cooper Cronk

Rugby league’s new Mr Clutch after his field goal in last year’s deciding match, Cronk has served his apprenticeship and has so far revelled in his representative roles. Seems destined to break Blues hearts for a few years yet. Cronk has been cleared of a spearing tackle and won’t face any judiciary trouble.

Matt ScottEdit

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Matt Scott

Has been the stand out prop in the last couple of series but has been a tad quiet this year. I’m tipping the big man to fire up against teammate Josh Tamou and put in some extra time in game one with the injury to Ben Hannnant.

Cameron SmithEdit

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Cameron Smith

The most important man in the QLD set-up, Smith will be doing everything bar driving the team bus in camp Maroon (Wally did actually drive the team bus funnily enough). Endless tackles, scoots out of dummy half, deft grubbers for repeat sets….the man is a machine with a Just Cuts Hairdo.

David ShillingtonEdit

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David Shillington

The nicest man in Origin thanks to Ben Creagh’s omission from the Blues, Shillo beat a last minute judiciary charge to take his place with the Maroons and will be champing at the bit after an up and down NRL season so far. Is capable of bending the line back with his massive frame. Shillington has been cleared of a high tackle ahead of Game 1.

Nate MylesEdit

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Nate Myles

Myles is the Maroons Mr Consistency and will be going just as hard in the final minute as the first. Loves a tackle or fifty, could possibly spend some time in the front row as he has done so with the Titans this season.

Sam ThaidayEdit

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Sam Thaiday

Another backrower who has played a lot of prop in the NRL this year, Thaiday will get the chance to run a little bit wider in Origin and has the knack of being on the end of sweetly timed Thurston cut outs when wearing Maroon.

Ashley HarrisonEdit

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Ashley Harrison

The Maroons indestructible man, Harrison – much like Dallas Johnson in recent years – has a knee injury, and is likely to cop an absolute flogging from the ‘Bruise Brothers’ but still be standing in the eightieth minute. The modern day Bob Linder, Harrison always plays his best in Origin matches.


Corey ParkerEdit

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Corey Parker

Usually an eighty minute player, Parker is probably coming into the twilight of his Origin career. Still, you know what you get with the man (lots of tackles, couple of off-loads, stylish grey streaks) and will provide a calming influence on the team.

Matt GillettEdit

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Matt Gillett

A handy player who has the skills to slot into the centres if required, Gillett has been retained by the QLD selectors despite stern competition from Raiders hitman Josh Papalii and Souths versatile Chris Mcqueen. Hasn’t shown his best at Origin level yet.

Ben T’eoEdit


Ben T'eo

Up until a week ago T’eo was just another cog in the all-conquering Souths forward pack, but has been thrown into the limelight for all the wrong reasons in the last week. His form warrants selection as does his brutal tackling, and whilst perhaps controversial is a savvy choice from a footballing perspective.

Chris McQueenEdit

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Kingaroy junior and South Sydney Rabbitohs star Chris McQueen is the only new face in the Maroons’ 17. He makes his debut for QLD, and can cover wing, centre and fullback.

Daly Cherry-EvansEdit

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Daly Cherry-Evans

Manly’s star specialist halfback is in the squad for the Maroons, but is likely to only be needed should something go amiss for Johnathan Thurston. He’s not suited to the rotation of the bench, and Meninga hasn’t chosen to carry him here. But he’s available if needed, and gets to experience the Queensland setup

Josh PapaliiEdit

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Josh Papalii

The Canberra Raiders power forward and firebrand is in Mal Meninga’s squad, possibly to further push thoughts of playing for New Zealand out of his man. He joins the extended squad for Origin I as cover.

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Justin O'Neill

The Melbourne Storm’s Justin O'Neill is on standby for Darius Boyd.

To be continued ...