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State of Awesome


It's the time of year again, mate against mate, state against state.  The greatest sporting occasion on Earth.  State of Origin.

Here's five great Origin moments in chronological order. There's so many, so feel free to add your own as most of mine will feature Queensland for obvious reasons.

5. 1980 - Game 3
The birth of Origin. Instead of representing where you played, players got to turn out for the state where you were born or where you first played senior rugby league.  After 18 games for New South Wales, the legendary Arthur Beetson at age 35 got to represent Queensland for the first time alongside six other Sydney-based players.  Most people thought the concept would die after yet another NSW victory and the Sydney players would go easy on each other. Wrong. The Maroons won 20-10 including 14 points to Mal Meninga on his 20th birthday, and Beetson went toe-to-toe with his Eels team mate Mick Cronin. Origin was here to stay.

4.  1985 - Game 2
In 1982 the first three game series was played, and was won by Queensland as were '83 & '84.  This new Origin thing wasn't working out so well for the Blues.  But in 1985, led by halfback Steve Mortimer, NSW finally broke their duck at the SCG when Brett Kenny sealed the match in the final minute as Mortimer was carried from the field a hero.


3.  1994 - Game 1
After 75 minutes Queensland were dead and buried at 12-4.  But winger Willie Carne scored and Meninga converted before this happened:

2. 1995 - Game 2
Queensland were written-off under rookie coach Paul "Fatty" Vautin, but went on to whitewash NSW 3-0. Game two was the birth of the famous call "Queenslander", which meant it was time for an all-in brawl. And what's Origin without the biff?

1.  2009 - Game 2
Queensland make history by becoming the first team to win four straight series in front of 80-thousand fans at ANZ Stadium in the heart of Sydney, all of the victories coming under the guidance of Mal Meninga.

Have your FIFA World Cup, your Tri Nations, your Ashes cricket and Bathurst. For me, State of Origin is, to quote Tina Turner, "simply the best".

- John Day
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