Interstate contests in rugby league in 1979 held diminishing relevance for the average rugby league supporter in NSWRL, if not Australia.
The financial power of Sydney clubs, sustained by poker machines in leagues clubs, sucked the best footballers out of Queensland and made the Sydney premiership - now expanded into the NRL - the benchmark of rugby league excellence for evermore.
Realising the implications of these increasingly one-sided contests, Queensland supremo Senator Ron Macauliffe devised the audacious plan of having players represent the state with which they had first played senior football.
Despite Kevin Humphreys support, the NSWRL clubs and media were luke warm on the idea at best, and the only way they would agree to the plan was if the first two matches had seen one state secure the series.
The return of Arthur Beetson to Queensland as captain of the Maroons in the first encounter inspired them to a magnificent 20-10 win, and since then State of Origin has never looked back.
Since 1982, the interstate series has been based purely on the lines set down by Senator MaCauliffe and Kevin Humphreys and is one of the greatest sporting events on the sporting calendar for all Australians each year.
The television ratings continue to set new records, the interest flows to wherever league fans congregate throughout the world and the quality of the football never ceases to amaze.
Among the heroics performed on both sides of the Tweed River, two can be selected to highlight the experience. In 1987 Mark MacGaw pounced on a wobbling kick in the dying seconds at Lang Park in Game One of that year to steal a win that still sends shivers down the spine
Queenslanders can look back with equal pleasure on Mark Coyne's try in the final moments of Game Two in 1994, when the ball went through nearly every players' hands in the lead up to a try that is still talked about in Brisbane bars
State against state, mate against mate - the interstate contests in other sports pale into comparison when placed next to the magic that is State of Origin football. Even the elite players admit Origin matches are a step up for them and it is this quality which, year after year, continues to astound and captivate rugby league fans.
- Series Results
- State of Origin Records
- NSW Aussie Blues
- XXXX Queensland Maroons