Every year when State of Origin rolls around it’s like Christmas for rugby league.
Excitement goes up a level, rugby league leads the news bulletins for the right reasons and there’s a kind of electricity in the air.
The games are desperate, played with high quality but at a frantic pace. The dry Queensland winter nights provide for plenty of ball movement, the damper Sydney evenings see more drawn out affairs and recently the addition of a third city has required teams to adapt to foreign conditions.
For the first time in Origin history, the series will be played after the conclusion of the season and held in three consecutive weeks in three different states.
It’s a far cry from its humble beginnings as a last ditch effort to resurrect representative rugby league.
In 1980 Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister, AC/DC frontman Bon Scott died in London, Bob Hawke was elected to parliament, Bruce Springsteen released The River, Breaker Morant opened in cinemas, Evonne Goolagong won her second Wimbledon title, the Illawarra Steelers were approved to enter the 1982 competition and State of Origin arrived.