The History of the State of Origin Rugby League Game. A Fierce Rivalry Between Queensland and New South Wales

The State of Origin Rugby League Game stands as one of the most intense and highly anticipated sporting events in Australia.

Originating from a desire to reinvigorate rugby league in the 1980s, this annual clash between Queensland and New South Wales has evolved into a fierce rivalry that captures the nation's attention.

In this blog post, we delve into the captivating history of the State of Origin, tracing its origins and highlighting significant moments that have shaped this iconic sporting spectacle.

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Origin of the State of Origin:

The concept of the State of Origin series was first proposed in 1980 by the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) in an attempt to breathe new life into the game.

The idea aimed to create a more competitive and thrilling spectacle by allowing players to represent the state in which they first played senior rugby league, rather than their club affiliations.

The proposal was met with initial resistance but eventually gained traction due to its potential to revive interest in the sport.

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The Inaugural Match:

On July 8, 1980, the first State of Origin game took place at Lang Park (now known as Suncorp Stadium) in Brisbane, Queensland.

It was a momentous occasion that saw Queensland and New South Wales players donning their respective state jerseys for the first time.

The match attracted a crowd of over 30,000 spectators and delivered an electrifying encounter that showcased the best talent from both states.

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The Maroons' Dominance:

The Queensland Maroons, led by exceptional captains such as Wally Lewis and Darren Lockyer, enjoyed a remarkable run of success throughout the 1980s and 2000s. They achieved an unprecedented streak of eight consecutive series wins from 2006 to 2013, establishing their dominance over their southern rivals. The Maroons' triumphs inspired a deep sense of pride among Queensland supporters and intensified the rivalry even further.

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The State of Origin Rugby League Game stands as a testament to the passion and sporting excellence that define Australian rugby league.

From its humble beginnings as a concept to reinvigorate the sport, it has transformed into a fierce rivalry between Queensland and New South Wales.

The clash between these two states showcases the best talent, encapsulates the spirit of the game, and captures the hearts of millions of fans across the country.

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As we reflect on the history of the State of Origin, we recognize the significant impact it has had on Australian sport and culture. From the legendary players to the unforgettable moments, this annual showdown has become an integral part of the nation's sporting fabric.

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Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2020). State of Origin Rugby League match captivates Australians. Retrieved from


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