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All About Australia’s State Of Origin

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Australia's State Of Origin

One of the most popular rugby codes in Australia’s  the State of Origin which was incepted back in 1982 and pits two teams against each other, the Queensland Maroons aka the Cane Toads, and the New South Wales Blues aka the Cockroaches. The rivalry between the two teams is often described as “Australian sport’s greatest rivalry” and captures the attention of all rugby fans both locally and internationally. 

Both teams have produced many rugby legends over the years mainly Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga, Brad Fittler, Andrew Johns, Nathan Cleary, and Greg Inglis. These are household names for rugby fans in Australia and for good reason. These players established successful careers in rugby and their achievements have gone down in Australian sporting history.

Although the State of Origin is predominately popular in Australia, the series has gained a worldwide following as it is considered to be one of the highest levels of professional rugby and is recognized as such. The series is broadcast all over the world from Asia to the Pacific Islands, as well as in the United States and England. These days though, if you are a State of Origin fan, you can watch it online pretty much anywhere in the world.

The history of the game dates back to 1982 when it was decided that a best of three series was the way to go. The game has only ever been played between New South Wales and Queensland and remains likely to stay that way. It keeps the intensity of the rivalry alive, knowing that the winners will be one or the other and that’s it.

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Players for each team are selected based on what state team they play for and what state they were born in. Previously, it was just what team the player had played their first senior match with, regardless of which state they were born in. This changed in 2012 to the current selection process.

At the time of this writing, the series is one game in with Queensland beating New South Wales 16-10. This makes  Australia’s State of Origin betting interesting because although Queensland has won the series more times than New South Wales, the Blues soundly beat the Maroons in the 2021 series and you know they will want to hold onto the title, while the Maroons will want to take it back.  

From 1992 until 2003, the series’ best Queensland player was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal but this was changed in 2004 to include either state and the Ron McAuliffe Medal is now awarded to only Queensland players. The medal is named after politician and sports administrator Ron McAuliffe who ran the Queensland rugby club and was instrumental in creating the State of Origin series. The Brad Fittler Medal is the New South Wales equivalent which has been given out to the best NSW player of the series since 2005. 

The series has been popular for 40 years now it is not hard to see why. The rivalry is intense and both teams are consistently evenly matched, although both teams have had some poor years there have also been some outstanding ones. As the series continues to take place, new players will enter the fold and future legends will be forged. The thing about Australian sport, in general, is that it is a respectful field with the sportsmen maintaining a high level of etiquette and humility.

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