Rugby is a very popular sport in Australia, especially in the northern states like New South Wales and Queensland. From legends like Mal Meninga and Wally Lewis to the latest talent like Tom Trbojevic and Dane Gagai showcasing the greatness of the sport, it is no wonder it is part of the Australian identity.
The State of Origin series began in 1982 and is the highest level of rugby that is played between New South Wales, known as the Blues, and Queensland, known as the Maroons, which is commonly referred to as ‘Australian sport’s greatest rivalry. The State of Origin is considered the pinnacle of rugby even when compared to international codes of the game.
Players are selected from the local teams of the state where they played their first senior rugby match in. This caused controversy before 2012 as some players were born in other states but played their first senior game in the state they were selected for. After 2012, it was deemed that place of birth was one of the factors included in deciding on who would be chosen to represent each team.
The State of Origin is a best out of three contest and is played during the middle of the rugby league season. Although other Australian states have rugby league teams, only Queensland and New South Wales currently play in the State of Origin series.
State of Origin reach:
The game’s popularity has reached international audiences, being broadcast in Asia and the United States and a game was even played at the Veterans Memorial Stadium in Long Beach, California in 1987. The game has also been played in other venues around Australia including the MCG in Melbourne, Victoria, the Optus Stadium in Perth, Western Australia, and the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, South Australia.
2021 saw the greatest win in the history of the series with New South Wales defeating Queensland by a massive 50-6. This epic win made it New South Wales’ 16th series win. Queensland currently leads in series wins though, with 22 wins overall. There have been only two series draws since the game’s inception, in 1999 and 2002.
The 2022 Series:
So far, the 2022 State of Origin odds is stacked against Queensland, with New South Wales riding high after their success in 2021. Although Queensland has had the most overall wins of the series, New South Wales holds impressive records including the highest number of points scored in a game with a 56-12 win in the third match of the series in 2000, which is when they also won all three matches.
On the other hand, Queensland has the record for most consecutive series wins which is 8 from 2006 to 2013, and also the largest winning margin of 46 points where they beat New South Wales 52-6 in game three of the 2015 series.
The Ron McAuliffe medal has been awarded to the best player of the series since 2004. Before then it was known as the Wally Lewis medal and was only awarded to players on the Queensland team.
The 2022 State of Origin series begins on June 8th, with the first match being played at Stadium Australia in Sydney. The next match with be played at Optus Stadium in Perth, while the third match will take place at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.