What is State of Origin?

State of Origin rugby league is one of the most exciting and intense sporting events in Australia. This annual three-game series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons is played at the highest level of rugby league, and is renowned for its high-stakes, intense rivalry, and passionate fan base.

For those who are new to rugby league, the State of Origin is a must-watch event. Here is everything you need to know about this thrilling competition.

The Origin Story

The State of Origin series was first played in 1980, when the New South Wales and Queensland rugby league teams faced off in a single game. The following year, the series was expanded to three games, and it has remained that way ever since.

The Origin series has its roots in the fierce interstate rivalry between New South Wales and Queensland, two states that are separated by over 1,000 miles of coastline. The rivalry began in the early 1900s, when the two states first played each other in rugby league matches. Over the years, the rivalry grew in intensity, with each state determined to prove that they were the best.

In the 1970s, a proposal was put forward to create a new competition that would pit the best players from each state against each other. This proposal eventually became the State of Origin series, and it has been a huge success ever since.

The Rules

The State of Origin series is played under the same rules as regular rugby league matches, with a few key differences. For one, the players are not divided into club teams, but instead represent their home state of either New South Wales or Queensland. Additionally, the series is played over three games, with each game being hosted by a different state.

The team that wins the most games is declared the winner of the series. In the event of a tied series, the team with the highest points differential (the difference between points scored and points conceded) is declared the winner.

State of Origin Players

The State of Origin series features the best rugby league players from New South Wales and Queensland, and is known for its high quality of play. Over the years, some of the greatest rugby league players in history have represented their states in the Origin series, including Wally Lewis, Andrew Johns, and Darren Lockyer.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Origin series is the way it brings together players who are normally bitter rivals. Many players who compete against each other in club matches during the regular season are forced to become teammates during the Origin series, leading to some unexpected alliances and friendships.

The Passion

The State of Origin series is renowned for its passionate fan base, with supporters of both teams traveling from all over the country to watch the games live. The atmosphere at an Origin match is unlike any other sporting event, with fans creating a sea of blue or maroon in the stands.

In addition to the fans in the stadium, the State of Origin series is watched by millions of people around the country. It is one of the most-watched sporting events on Australian television, with the games often attracting more viewers than the NRL Grand Final.

State of Origin Stats

Over the years, the State of Origin series has produced some incredible statistics and records. Here are a few of the most notable:

  • Queensland has won the series 22 times, while New South Wales has won it 15 times. There have been two tied series.
  • The highest-scoring game in Origin history was played in 2000, when Queensland defeated New South Wales 34-16.
  • The player who has scored the most points in Origin history is Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston, who scored a total of 220 points in 37 games.
  • The player who has scored the most tries in Origin history is Queensland’s Greg Inglis, who scored a total of 18 tries in 32 games.
  • The highest attendance for an Origin match was set in 2019 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, with 52,191 fans in attendance.
  • The 1995 State of Origin series is often referred to as the “Super League” series, as it was played during the Super League war between the Australian Rugby League and the News Ltd-owned Super League.
  • In 2014, New South Wales broke Queensland’s eight-year winning streak by winning the series 2-1.
  • The 2020 State of Origin series was played in November for the first time in history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Queensland winning the series 2-1.


State of Origin rugby league is more than just a sporting event – it’s a cultural phenomenon. The passion, intensity, and rivalry of the series make it one of the most exciting events on the Australian sporting calendar. Whether you’re a die-hard rugby league fan or just getting into the game you don’t want to miss the next State of Origin series!

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