November 2020

State of Origin Timeline

A look back at the beginnings of Origin.
  • 1900 – Players representing their state of birth are first raised regarding interstate rugby union matches between NSW and QLD. Lonnie Spragg moved to QLD having been born in Redfern and represented the Maroons. He unfortunately passed of appendicitis in 1904, before the formation of the NSWRFL.

  • The Sydney Morning Herald’s announcement of the match being played on 11 July 1908
  • 1908 – The first interstate rugby league match is held between NSW and QLD. NSW win 43-0 with the local Sydney media describing it as a training run.

    They are quite the weakest lot of footballers I have even seen come down from Queensland.” Read The Sydney Morning Herald.

  • The Sydney Morning Herald’s match report published 13 July 1908
  • 1910 NSW side
  • 1922-1925 – Queensland enjoys its first bout of dominance, winning 11 from 12 matches in this period.

  • 1956 – Gaming machines are permitted in NSW clubs, providing a cash surge to Leagues clubs to poach QLD players for the NSWRL.

    “Every time Queensland produces a good footballer, he finishes up being processed through a New South Wales poker machine.” – Paul Hogan, 1977

  • 1956-1981 – NSW becomes supremely dominant losing only one interstate series, in 1959.

  • 1977 – The interstate series hits its lowest ebb, with crowds disinterested and NSW having won for nearly 30 years straight, they decline to host the matches, with both games being played in Queensland. Journalist and former player Jack Reardon proposes a State of Origin format to revive the game.

  • Former Queensland captain turned journalist Jack Reardon. Under Origin rules he’d have been ineligible for Queensland as he was born in and grew up in Lismore, NSW.
  • 1980 – State of Origin is born. The single clash was played at Lang Park with QLD winning 20-10.

    “On the reaction of the crowd last night and the response of the players, an annual State of origin match is a must… It was a winner, not only as a promotion but for the code itself and especially here in Queensland.” – Alan Clarkson, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 July 1980.

  • Arthur Beetson takes the field in 1980
  • The Sydney Morning Herald’s match report
  • The first State of Origin shield depicting Wally Lewis and Brett Kenny
  • 1982 – The first three match State of Origin series is played with Queensland winning it 2-1. They then repeat the feat in 1983 and 1984.

  • Mal Meninga
  • 1985 – NSW win their first series 2-1. They then secure the first clean sweep in 1986, winning 3-0.

  • Steve Mortimer celebrates NSW winning their first Origin series
  • 1987-1989 – QLD enjoy a second period of dominance in the 80s, taking out back-to-back series whitewashes in 1988 and 1989.

  • Wally Lewis
  • Brett Kenny
  • 1987 – History is made when an Origin match is played overseas for the first and so far only time in California, USA. NSW wins 30-18.

  • Gene Miles runs at Cliff Lyons in the California match
  • 1990 – NSW snaps Queensland’s winning streak with new halves Ricky Stuart and Laurie Daley leading the Blues to a 2-1 series victory.

  • Ricky Stuart
  • 1992-1994 – The Blues enjoy three consecutive series wins for the first time in Origin history.

  • Brad Fittler
  • 1995-1996 – In 1995 a QLD side heavily hit by Super League shocks the heavily favoured Blues with a 3-0 whitewash. NSW hits back with its own whitewash in 1996.

  • 1997 – Origin is once again impacted by Super League with two separate series being held and the NRL not counting any of them as official matches.

  • Andrew Johns
  • 1998 – QLD win the series in a decider at the final Origin game to be held at the SFS.

  • 1999 – The first ever drawn series is played out with Queensland retaining the shield.

    The women’s interstate challenge is introduced.

  • 2000-2005 – The Blues enjoy one of their most dominant periods with the likes of Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler leading them to four series wins out of six.

  • Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer
  • 2006-2013 – QLD enjoy the most successful era for any side in Origin history, winning eight consecutive series.

  • Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater
  • 2014 – The Blues snap Queensland’s dominance, winning the first two games of the series.

  • Jarryd Hayne
  • Paul Gallen
  • 2015-2017 – The Maroons once again become dominant, winning three consecutive series.

  • 2018-2019 – The Blues win back-to-back series for the first time since the early 2000s.

    Women’s Origin becomes its own event with the Blues winning the first two series.

  • James Tedesco
  • Isabelle Kelly scores for NSW
  • Ali Brigginshaw
  • 2020 – For the first time in history, Origin is postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and scheduled for November 2020 across three consecutive weeks.

    Women’s Origin is also suspended and scheduled to be played in Queensland for the first time.

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