The State of Origin is an annual three-match showdown between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues and the series is all about the passion, the pain and of course the players.
Every year mid-way through the 26 round standard season of the NRL Telstra Premiership, the State of Origin pits State against State and Mate against Mate as selectors pick the best club players to represent their state.
State of Origin Team Selections
The State of Origin Teams are selected by a panel of Rugby League veterans and experts every season. Teams and players are chosen according to set rules that look at the contribution players have in the NRL to ensure the toughest, most competitive and elite athletes are selected for the Origin teams.
For all three clashes, the Maroons and Blues squads can and often do change, as different players prove their worthiness of a spot during the club games, while other rep players miss out on a call-up due to lacklustre performances, injury or suspensions.
Players are chosen for either Queensland or New South Wales not on the location of the team they are currently contracted to, but based on the state they played their inaugural first-grade season for.
When selecting Origin teams, it is not only a matter of picking the ‘best’ players in the NRL, but looking at combinations of players. Who will work well together to achieve greatness for their state.
With players going back to their roots and often facing off against fellow teammates during the series, the State of Origin is an intense and entertaining affair and offers some of the best betting opportunities of the year!
There are a number of current NRL Teams in the competition that are representative-rich, providing a high number of Origin players to the series each season.
The St George Illawarra Dragons and the Melbourne Storm are two teams that are full of stars and lose many of their key players during Origin.
It is a great footy tip when betting on the NRL around Origin time to look at the impact the series has on these teams. Often teams that surge to the top of the ladder early in the season do so because of their strong squads and come Origin, they are stripped of their stars and fail to maintain their form with a weakened squad.
At the same time, there are plenty of teams who thrive around State of Origin as their clubs have only a few or no players in the State of Origin teams. The New Zealand Warriors are one such team because the bulk of their players are from their native New Zealand and are therefore ineligible for Origin selection.
When betting on the NRL mid-season, look at not only how many players are either missing or backing up from the State of Origin, but the position these guys play. If a captain or players in key positions like halfback and five-eighth are affected, the impact on the club will be greater than the loss of a less instrumental player.
Legendary State of Origin Teams
Throughout history, each and every State of Origin team have been legends in their own right. However there are some squads that rose above and beyond and are remembered as gods of the game.
During the early eighties the Queenslanders enjoyed great success winning three in a row from 1982 – 1984 and with legendary captain Wally Lewis – who holds the record for the most games as a Queensland captain at 30 – leading the way, these early teams are often considered some of the best Maroon sides ever to play. The early State of Origin Queensland teams included many legends including the now-Maroons coach Mal Meninga, who in 1983 scored the most points by a Queensland player during an Origin series with 30 to his name over the three games.
The 1988 and 1999 Queensland squads are forever famous, strengthened by the immortal halves combo of Allan Langer and Wally Lewis. This State of Origin team, coached by Wayne Bennett, were responsible for some of the Maroons’ greatest achievements. They won all three showdowns for Queensland for the first time in 1988, after starting as the underdogs, and then backed it up making it successive whitewashes the following year as well. Other star players who were involved in this golden time for Queensland include fullback Gary Belcher and lock Paul Vautin. Another great feat on the glittering resume of the 1989 Origin team occurred in game one that year, when the Queenslanders claimed their biggest ever win over New South Wales thrashing them 36 – 6.
More recently Queensland have totally dominated the State of Origin, winning a record five consecutive series from 2006 – 2010. The teams that have achieved such an influential record for Queensland are so strong because selectors have aimed to keep a central nucleus of players who are loyal and work well as a team including immortal captain Darren Lockyer, Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Petero Civoniceva.
New South Wales Blues
There have been many celebrated Blues State of Origin teams throughout the history of the game, but one of the most memorable was the 1986 squad that lead New South Wales to the first three-match series sweep seen in Origin. Blues greats including Brett Kenny, Peter Sterling and Steve Roach were all a part of this great side.
The Blues also enjoyed a golden era during the early 1990’s, winning three straight from 1992 – 1994 with a legendary State of Origin squad boasting talented veterans including Laurie Daley, Ricky Stuart and Ben Elias.
Another top-class Blues side took to the field in 2000 and will forever be remembered for their whitewash series win that year. With legends including captain Brad Fittler, Brett Kimmorley and Ryan Girdler – who holds the record for the most points scored in a series with 52 over the three games that year – on board, they were one imposing side. The 2000 State of Origin team for New South Wales also entered the history books when they scored the biggest Blues win over the Maroons in the third game, thrashing the Queenslanders 56 – 16, which remains the largest winning margin in State of Origin history.
Best State of Origin Team Betting
When betting on the State of Origin it is a good idea to look at game-by-game odds as well as the overall series markets. Often either the Queenslanders or the Blues are favoured to take out the series, but their record of a three-from-three sweep is poor and so betting on them through Ladbrokes.com.au to win the series 2 – 1 instead of 3 – 0 can be very profitable. For example, the Queensland side has enjoyed a record five-straight series wins recently, but have been unable to win all three games since their 1995 whitewash.
There is a lot of pre-Origin talk about the quality of squads and the chances of the teams to win. Often Rugby League punters will find the team most talked about before the series fails to live up to the hype in the opening match, like the failure of the Blues to win despite being the short-priced favourites in the series opener of 2010.
History has shown that New South Wales often fail to win a game that they should, with Queensland pulling out many upsets. And similarly, the Maroons have a less-than-ideal record in the third and final Origin showdowns.
All these great State of Origin team stats should be considered to make a successful wager on the next Origin battle!