The State of Origin
The NRL State of Origin series is the pinnacle of the Australian Rugby League calendar, played as a best-of-three series between traditional state rivals, New South Wales and Queensland.
It is state versus state, and mate versus mate, as club teammates become rivals in some of the most brutal contests seen in Australian sports. The of the three games are are played mid-week, between NRL club games which makes the tough, hard ferocity of the contest even more impressive. The teams alternate home ground advantage each season, with one State playing Games 1 and 3 at home every other year.
NRL State of Origin Facts
10 fast facts about the greatest rivalry in Australian sport –
- The 2018 series will mark 110 years of these two traditional rivals suiting up for State of Origin.
- The three-match series as we know it debuted in 1982, where Queensland won 2-1.
- The first ever State of Origin shield featured the likeliness of New South Wales’ Brett Kenny, and Queensland’s Wally Lewis.
- While today’s officiating is normally considered to be fair and even, Queenslander Barry Gomersall turned heads throughout the 1980’s, with the Maroons winning seven of nine Origin games with him in charge. (The New South Welshmen will say it was more than fair).
- The NRL went to Long Beach, California in 1987 for an exhibition match, with New South Wales taking the honours 30-18.
- In 2009, Queensland won the first two games making them the first ever state to win four consecutive series.
- In 2014, the Blues broke an eight-season losing streak by winning the first two games in low scoring encounters 12-8 and 6-4.
- The Wally Lewis Medal has been awarded to the player of the series since 2004. Melbourne Storm skipper and Queensland legend Cameron Smith has won the award on four occasions.
- New South Wales have had just three winners of the medal and one since 2006; Paul Gallen who won the award in 2014.
- New South Wales hold the record for the highest score in an Origin game, winning Game 2 by 56-16 in 2000. Ryan Girdler also broke the individual Origin scoring record in that game, with 32 points.
State against state, mate against mate.
NRL State of Origin Betting
Punters can bet on the winner of the game, and margin betting is available with punters being able to select the winning margin of under 12 points, or 12 or more points.
Three of the last six Origin games have been decided by four points or less, but the losing side has not passed 18 points in a game since 2012. In the tough, contested games that are Origin, the total game score under bet is often a safe choice. The First Try Scorer is the most popular Player Prop Bet, with double-figure odds available on most players.
The Past 5 NRL State of Origin Winners
2017 – Queensland defeated New South Wales 2-1:
The Blues shocked the hometown Maroons 28-4 in Game 1, running in five tries to one ahead of 50,390 at Suncorp Stadium. Corey Oates crossed the line to narrow the margin to 6-4 late in the first half, but the Blues then steamrolled the Maroons and headed home for Game 2 with a chance to seal the series. That didn’t happen, though, as the Maroons overcame a 16-0 first half deficit on the back of two second-half tries by eventual Wally Lewis Medallist Dane Gagai.
In Game 3, Queensland jumped out to an early lead and were never headed as Valentine Holmes scored a hat-trick of tries in a 22-6 win.
2016 – Queensland defeated New South Wales 2-1: Game 1 was a dour struggle as Queensland defeated New South Wales 6-4 in front of 80,251 disappointed Blues fans.
The Maroons sealed the deal in Game 2, winning 26-16 in front of their adoring home fans as Dane Gagai scored three times.
The Blues scored a consolation win in Game 3, scoring an 18-14 win as Maroons talisman Johnathan Thurston uncharacteristically missed two conversions which ultimately cost his side a clean sweep of the series.
2015 – Queensland defeated New South Wales 2-1:
A Cooper Cronk field goal late in the game saw the Maroons defeat the Blues 11-10 in Game 1. Cronk’s match winner was preceded by the Blues missing a field goal of their own, adding to the agony of yet another lost Origin encounter.
The MCG hosted Game 2 and 91,513 fans turned up to watch the Blues level the series 26-18, with man of the match Michael Jennings opening the scoring in just the fourth minute. The Blues fought back from a deficit in this match, and headed north with momentum for Game 3.
Their hopes were shattered early on as the Maroons put on a clinic, winning 52-6 as they scored eight tries to one. A capacity crowd of 52,500 cheered home their local heroes once again.
2014 – The Blues broke an eight-year losing streak, starting the series by winning on the road with a hard fought 12-8 win at Suncorp Stadium in Game 1. Darius Boyd got the home side off to a good start, but the Blues answered with two tries before half time and held on in the second half.
In Game 2, the Blues knew they had the chance to make history but there was no try in the first 71 minutes as two Maroons penalty goals were the only scores. Enter Trent Hodkinson, who wrote himself into Blues folklore by cross for a try and converting for a win.
Game 3 was a dead rubber, and the Blues played accordingly – the Maroons smashed them 32-8 to take a consolation win. Interesting, the Maroons outscored the Blues 44-26 over the series but walked away as losers.
2013 – Queensland defeated New South Wales 2-1:
The Blues opened the series at home and started in style, winning 14-6 off the back of an explosive first half. Jarryd Hayne and Michael Jennings crossed the line in the first 37 minutes, and the Maroons could get just one try back in a low-scoring second half.
Order was restored in Game 2 as Queensland smashed New South Wales 26-6, opening the game with 26 unanswered points and having to wait 15 minutes for the game to start following a delay as Julia Gillard was replaced by Kevin Rudd as Australian Prime Minister.
83,813 fans watched a gripping Game 3, but went home shattered as the Maroons snuck over the line 12-10 in front of a then-record Origin crowd.
Who has won the most State of Origin Series?
With only two sides competing, long streaks are common place between New South Wales and Queensland. The Maroons won eight straight series between 2006 and 2013 inclusive, and are currently on a three year winning streak after the Blues broke through in 2014. The Blues have never won more than three straight series, which they have done twice from 1992-1994 and 2003-2005.
Of the 36 full series played, Queensland have won 21, New South Wales 13, with 2 series drawn. In terms of games, the Maroons lead 58-48 with two draws (in 1999 and 2002).
The Past 5 Wally Lewis Medalists
2017 – Dane Gagai, wing (Queensland)
2016 – Cameron Smith, hooker (Queensland)
2015 – Corey Parker, lock (Queensland)
2014 – Paul Gallen, lock/prop (New South Wales)
2013 – Cameron Smith, hooker (Queensland)