With game one of State of Origin around the corner and the park expecting to have its usual buzz and excitement, we thought it would be fitting to educate our guests who are not familiar with the gladiatorial game or even people who simply don’t know why this concept was introduced on the history of State of Origin and how it came to be the spectacle it is today.
Before the concept of State of Origin was introduced, New South Wales and Queensland had been competing against each other in what was called an “interstate” competition since 1908. Each team would draw its players from the clubs based in that state; no consideration was given to the original origin of these players. This interstate competition was dominated by NSW for the majority of the time this notion was run (1908-1980) as the NSW leagues clubs had a revenue source much greater than its QLD counterparts, therefore attracting more players from QLD to the Sydney club competition in NSW and consequently becoming ineligible to play for QLD.
During the 1970s the matches had been seriously downgraded due to NSW dominance, there was a petition to have the QLD players based in Sydney be eligible for selection in the QLD team, however it was opposed by the majority of the Sydney Clubs and NSWRL.
In 1980 a State of Origin experiment match was played in Brisbane after NSW won the first two interstate matches of that year in Sydney. QLD eligible players based in NSW were finally allowed to represent their “state of origin”. The State of Origin experiment was again tried in 1981 after the first two matches were played under old rules and QLD ran out victors 22-15, led by “the king” Wally Lewis.
From 1982 onwards the State of Origin concept continued after the potential financial rewards were too great to ignore by the powers to be. The dominance of NSW slowly started to even out as players who were previously playing for NSW went back to play for QLD. State of Origin has grown to become one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the world with over 91 countries receiving live broadcast of all the games. The rivalry between the two states and the slogan of “state against state, mate against mate” has not just drawn a cult following in both NSW and QLD, but also overseas in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand with both countries dividing their loyalties between the two states of Australia.
In recent years, the tides have severely turned against NSW since their days of dominance with QLD winning a record 8 series in a row between 2006 and 2013. Last year saw NSW fight back the title in two games to win their first series since 2006, bringing many tears of joy and relief to not just the players but diehard fans from all around the state.
What will 2015 bring....Game one
..27th of May
..A place for everyone (even Queenslanders)
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