Origin Knockout: The final eight
Which four legendary State of Origin players will get your vote as we close in on naming the fans' favourite Origin star of the 21st century?
Darren Lockyer v Cameron Smith
The two men who have led Queensland to the most dominant period in State of Origin history face off, with the most-capped Origin player taking on the man who is set to break that record. Darren Lockyer was first named Maroons captain in 2001 and he bowed out of the game a decade later after leading his state to their sixth straight Origin series victory. Smith, a Maroon since 2003, took over the reigns as Queensland skipper in 2012 and extended that winning streak to eight years. Both were long-term captains for club, state, and country, with Smith set to eclipse a few of the appearances records held by Lockyer. Both have been named Queensland's player of the series three times. In a battle of two Origin greats, who gets your vote?
Andrew Johns v Steve Menzies
Johns was a star halfback who tackled like a back-rower, Menzies was a forward with the try-scoring record of a winger. Johns won three Dally M medals and has already cemented his place as one of rugby league's greats as one of the game's eight Immortals. Menzies was a player so well loved that he remained a popular figure throughout his career despite playing for a Sea Eagles side that neutral fans loved to hate. Can Beaver's popularity get him over the line against Joey here?
Johnathan Thurston v Greg Inglis
This could well be a battle of the two best players in the game right now. Thurston is the NRL's best playmaker, with the full range of skills and arguably the most competitive spirit in the game. He's been the force behind 10 straight wins for the Cowboys. Inglis, meanwhile, was the star of South Sydney's drought-breaking premiership win last season and boasts a combination of size, speed and power that few humans can match. Who has been the better contributor on the Origin stage?
Brad Fittler v Jarryd Hayne
Brad Fittler's reputation for NSW is so great, they named the award for the Blues' player of the series after him. Only one player has taken out that award more than once – and it's Jarryd Hayne, who has actually won it three times since the award's inception in 2005. Fittler played more Origin games for the Blues than anyone else, while Hayne has set off to conquer the NFL after conquering Queensland last year. Will the Hayne Plane fly again or is Freddy set for the final four?