State of Origin

From Academic Kids

State of Origin is the name used in Australia for Rugby League and Australian Rules Football interstate matches, in which players are selected for the State in which they first played. The concept was borrowed from international representative rules in other sports, and was devised to address the drift of most talented Australian rules players to the Victorian Football League (VFL) and the effect that this had on interstate matches. A similar situation existed in regard to the New South Wales Rugby League, which — until the 1980s — recruited the best players from the Queensland Rugby League.

Whereas the Australian rules origin matches no longer take place, the annual Rugby League State of Origin Series is now one of Australia's most popular sporting events.


Australian rules football

The first State of Origin game was an Australian Rules game between Victoria and Western Australia (WA) in 1977.

The title of "father of state of origin" must go to Leon Larkin, the marketing manager of the Subiaco Football Club in the Western Australian Football League (WAFL), who negotiated with the VFL for two years before reaching agreement on the format.

The game took place at Subiaco Oval in Perth on October 8. In the words of one football historian:

A Western Australian team comprised entirely of home-based players had, on 25 June, taken on a VFL team containing many of the same players who would return to Perth three and a half months later for the state of origin clash. The respective scores of the two matches offered a persuasive argument, if such were needed, of the extent to which the VFL had denuded the WAFL of its elite talent:
  • On 25 June 1977 VFL 23.16 (154) defeated Western Australia 13.13 (91) - a margin of 63 points
  • On 8 October 1977 Western Australia 23.13 (151) defeated Victoria 8.9 (57) - a margin of 94 points, representing an overall turn around of 157 points
Western Australia's previous biggest winning margin against a Victorian state team had been a mere 38 points in 1948. Almost overnight, an inferiority complex was dismantled: Victoria, it seemed, was not intrinsically superior, only wealthier.[1] (

Games involving each of the other states soon followed. Although the Australian Rules State of Origin games were initially extremely popular, especially in WA and South Australia, they declined in attendance and interest following the conversion of the VFL (later Australian Football League) to a national club competition in the 1980s. No Australian rules State of Origin matches have been held since 1999.

An Australian Football League provides statistics and details of all matches.[2] (

Rugby League

The two Rugby League states, New South Wales and Queensland, emulated the concept for the first time on July 8, 1980. The experience of the rival code was echoed, with Queenslanders showing enormous interest in the game at Lang Park, Brisbane; against expectations, Queensland defeated NSW, 20-10. As per usual inter-state matches drew very small crowds, few predicted that State of Origin would be popular - and even fewer predicted that Queensland would win.

Compared to the Australian Rules variety, the Rugby League State of Origin matches went from strength to strength, and they remain one of Australia's biggest sporting events: a record crowd of 88,336 was achieved in 1999 at Stadium Australia in Sydney and the record for the annual three game series was set in 2004, when 203,309 people attended.

State of Origin has become a popular sporting event in Australia because of the passion, unpredictability and eveness of the contest. State of Origin matches are fast, fuelled by pride, emotion and passion and very often fights will break out both on and off the field. Players give every last bit of physical and mental power they have during one of these games.

State of Origin is also a very tightly contested competition, with both states almost even on points scored, series won and games won.

The success of the Australian State of Origin games resulted in the revival of Rugby League inter-county games in England in 2001, under the name Origin Series. A similar proposal has recently been made for a competition between either North Island and South Island in New Zealand or Auckland against the rest of New Zealand.

See also

External links

Template:Australasian Rugby League links


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