“Mate vs. Mate, State vs. State.”

Widely considered the premier annual rugby league event, the State of Origin competition between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues is perhaps the greatest exhibition of professional rugby league talent in the world. Established in 1980, the competition has evolved into Australia’s most celebrated sporting rivalry, with no other event generating the public and media excitement and rivalry that occurs at Origin time.

STATE OF ORIGIN FORMAT

The State of Origin series consists of three matches, with a three-week gap between each. Venues alternate between the two states with each match, with games currently taking place at ANZ Stadium in Sydney and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Although the three-game format ensures that a winner is decided each year, it also provides one team with two home games each year. In 2010, two State of Origin dates were played in Sydney, while in 2011, two games were contested at Suncorp Stadium. In 2012, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane will all host a match each.

STATE OF ORIGIN TEAMS

As the name suggests, players are eligible for selection based on which state they commenced playing senior rugby league, and are usually selected on form, whether in the regular NRL competition or in previous Origin series. As a result, teams usually draw heavily from form teams, as well as State of Origin stalwarts such as Cameron Smith and Johnathon Thurston for Queensland and Paul Gallen and Anthony Watmough for NSW.

The impact of State of Origin selection can adversely affect club form during regular season, with most players keen to play for their state, in what is regarded as the highest level of rugby league competition. The State of Origin rivalry is infectious within the playing camps too, with NRL teammates often displaying great enthusiasm facing off against each other when playing for opposing states.

The three-week gap between each game allows State of Origin coaches with some training flexibility, so that teams may be changed for each game if injury or poor performance calls for a reshuffle.

STATE OF ORIGIN HISTORY

Interstate matches were periodically played between NSW and QLD teams since Australian rugby league’s beginnings in 1908. However, with continual NSW dominance and disinterest, these games became increasingly unimportant, until experimentation in 1980 and 1981 began to receive public interest and the tradition was born. At the same time, the current selection rules were put in place, as opposed to historic selections being based on the state where players’ clubs were based.

STATE OF ORIGIN PLAYERS

State of Origin has become known for bringing out the best in the game’s great players, with certain league greats becoming legendary on the Origin field. Each generation of players has spawned new State of Origin royalty. For Queensland, players like ‘King’ Wally Lewis, Arthur Beetson, Mal Meninga, Allan Langer, Gorden Tallis and more recently, Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston have made names for themselves in Origin football. In 2005, all of the above players were named in an ‘Origin Legends’ selection during the 25th anniversary of the series.

NSW State of Origin stars have included Laurie Daley, Wayne Pearce, Peter Sterling, Brad Fittler, and more recently Andrew Johns, Paul Gallen, and Mark Gasnier. Naming their ‘Team of the Century’ in 2008 to commemorate 100 years of League in Australia, NSW selectors chose many legends active before the modern ‘State of Origin’ format, including Clive Churchill, Reg Gasnier, Graeme Langlands, Dally Messenger and Norm Provan.

STATE OF ORIGIN BETTING

Any sporting event with as much history, passion and rivalry as the State of Origin is bound to attract a significant amount of betting interest. From casual office or backyard bets between mates, to pride-damaging dares between state politicians (remember when NSW Premier Bob Carr was forced to hoist the QLD flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1999?), Origin betting has become a true Aussie tradition.

Luxbet is the best place to find the biggest range of State of Origin betting options and odds. Punters have the option of betting on individual matches and scores, the overall series result, or individual player feats, as well as a range of other variables. Given the intense rivalry between the two competing states, the most popular bet is on the overall series winner, which as we know all too well has been dominated by the mighty Queensland squad over the past eigth years. Finding themselves securely placed as underdogs, NSW provide the value bet for the series, but the question remains as to when their Origin drought will break.

For the full list of Origin options, head over to the Luxbet State of Origin Betting page.