Origin Knockout: Round 1 (Qld, Part 1)
The Holden State of Origin series is as big as ever, and to celebrate NRL.com is asking fans to name their favourite Origin player of the century so far.
We've selected 64 players – 32 from each state – who have played Origin since 2000 and pitted them against each other in a knockout tournament, and you'll decide which players advance through each round.
Here's the first batch of eight match-ups featuring some of the Maroons' best. Make your votes for who should survive to Round 2.
Darren Lockyer v Brad Thorn
Darren Lockyer: Lockyer captained his country, mastered two positions, and played more State of Origin matches than any other player (36). The Broncos and Queensland legend was his state's top point-scorer in his first Origin series in 1998, first thriving as a goal-kicking fullback before evolving into his side's five-eighth and captain (only Wally Lewis has captained Queensland more times than Lockyer's 22). By the time he retired after 2011 Queensland had claimed six straight series wins.
Brad Thorn: Thorn was one of the most successful NRL players of the modern era – despite also playing two stints in rugby union. He won three grand finals with the Broncos and was a fixture in the Queensland team between 1995 and 2000, before returning to rugby league and Origin in 2005 and winning another premiership the following year.
Brent Tate v Paul Bowman
Brent Tate: Despite a career dominated by injuries, Tate played 23 Origin matches for Queensland – several while wearing a neck brace – and was one of the bravest competitors in a sport in which bravery is a prerequisite. Apart from two injury-wrecked seasons Tate was a regular in the Maroons' side for their eight-year series streak.
Paul Bowman: The former North Queensland centre and captain played a dozen times for the Maroons, scoring twice in his side's stunning win in the 2001 decider as Allan Langer made a shock return to the Origin stage. A renowned defender in the centres, Bowman played his final three games for the Maroons in 2005 and went on to play in the NRL Grand Final the same year.
Shane Webcke v Steve Price
Shane Webcke: A one-club man at the Broncos, Webcke earned the Maroons No.8 jersey in 1998, was man-of-the-match in the Game Three decider that year, and played in every Origin game from then until his retirement from rep football in 2004. Having won three premierships with Brisbane by then, Webcke ended his NRL career in the perfect way with a fourth in 2006.
Steve Price: With 28 Origin appearances (eighth most of all players and third among forwards), Price was a rock in the front row for Queensland for more than a decade. His performances in his debut series propelled him into the Kangaroos side in 1998, and he remained a walk-up starter for state and country as the NRL's oldest player in 2009 – having won two NRL premierships and captained two club sides along the way.
Matthew Scott v Tonie Carroll
Matthew Scott: Arguably the best prop in the game over the past decade, Cowboys co-captain Scott has been in the Queensland set-up since 2006 and the Kangaroos side since 2010. One of the key pillars of the Maroons' dominance up front in recent years, Scott's knack for consistently grinding out big metres in the middle has laid the platform for Queensland's flair-filled backline to strut their stuff.
Tonie Carroll: One of the hardest-hitting tacklers in rugby league history, Carroll has the rare honour of having represented both Australia and the nation of his birth, New Zealand, while also playing 18 matches for Queensland. The nuggety utility man could fill a role in the back row or at centre, often acting as Darren Lockyer's bodyguard in the defensive line, and bowed out of the Origin scene with Queensland's record-breaking series streak already underway.
Cameron Smith v Ashley Harrison
Cameron Smith: The current Kangaroos skipper is set to leap past Petero Civoniceva and Allan Langer and join Darren Lockyer at the top of the most-Origin-appearances list this season. Starting his Origin career with three straight series defeats, Smith had ample motivation to turn things around and produce one of the great rep football careers. In 2006 he broke into the Australian Test side and finally enjoyed a series win with Queensland – with seven more to follow in the next seven years. Smith has three times been named the Maroons' player of the year and is the first player of either state to win 20 State of Origin games.
Ashley Harrison: Harrison is one of those no-frills players who may have been snubbed by NSW selectors but became a mainstay for Queensland, playing 15 matches – with all but one of them coming during the Maroons' epic winning streak. Made a ton of tackles, got through the hard yards, and was more often than not on the winning side.
Corey Parker v Carl Webb
Corey Parker: The greyer his hair gets, the better Corey Parker gets. The Broncos veteran is one of the great quiet achievers of recent times; a stats machine loved by the NRL Fantasy crowd for his ability to churn out huge numbers of tackles, hit-ups and offloads each week. His Origin career began more than a decade ago but he was still the man to receive the Man of the Match award in Queensland's thumping win over the Blues in Game Three last year.
Carl Webb: A fiery character, whose penchant for hard hits made him a cult hero for Maroons fans while occasionally putting him in the referees' bad books, the 124th man to represent Queensland embodied the state's famous passion by having the number "124" tattooed on his neck. Scored a try on his Origin debut in 2001 in just his second year in the NRL, and represented Queensland a dozen times while plying his trade at club level for the Broncos and the Cowboys.
Petero Civoniceva v Ben Hannant
Petero Civoniceva: The oldest player to play State of Origin, at the age of 36 years and 53 days, Civoniceva ranks third on the list of Origin matches played and was one of the most universally respected players in rugby league history. Twice named Queensland's player of the series (in 2008 and 2011), Civoniceva represented his state 33 times and Australia 45 times between 2001 and 2012 before playing six Test for the nation of his birth, Fiji, over the next two years.
Ben Hannant: Between 2008 and 2012 when the Maroons needed a big man to provide impact off the bench, they called on Ben Hannant. The veteran prop – now at his fifth NRL club in his 11th season in the top grade – was a regular member of that great Queensland side at its prime, even grabbing a couple of tries in his dozen Origin appearances.
Allan Langer v Matt Sing
Allan Langer: The star halfback of the all-conquering Broncos side of the 1990s made a shock return to the Origin scene in 2001, answering the call of Maroons coach Wayne Bennett to return to league's toughest stage from England at the age of 35. The little playmaker set up two tries and scored one in the series decider, and repeated the effort a year later with a man-of-the-match effort in the tied 2002 decider after signing on with the Broncos again and setting a new record as the NRL's oldest player.
Matt Sing: A 24-match veteran of Queensland, Sing was renowned for his never-say-die attitude in defence and could do some damage in attack as well – earning man-of-the-match honours from the wing with a superb hat-trick in a record-equalling 30-point Maroons win in 2003.