Stat of Origin: Rare Rabbitohs history beckons for Crichton, Cook
Damien Cook and Angus Crichton are just 80 minutes away from joining one of the most exclusive clubs in South Sydney's proud history with the chance to claim a NSW series win while wearing the cardinal and myrtle.
The Rabbitohs' record 21 premierships have established the foundation club as the most successful in rugby league's history, but South Sydney has wielded only a limited influence during State of Origin's 38-year tenure.
Since 1980, just 16 players have represented the Blues while playing their club football out of Redfern, with another nine rising to Queensland honours in the same time.
Another victory and a cherished series win in Origin II would see rookies Cook and Crichton join just three other men – and the ultimate Souths trivia question - to have lifted the shield for NSW as a Rabbitoh.
Former club captain Bryan Fletcher is the most recognisable of the contingent, playing his last two Origins in 2003's series win, his first year in red and green after shifting from the Roosters.
One-time South Sydney forward Tony Rampling also played off the Blues bench in game three, 1985, when NSW had already broken the Maroons' early '80s dominance with two wins to start that famed series.
Ex-Rabbitohs flyer Graham Lyons is the only other NSW-rep to claim a series as a Bunny, playing all three games in 1990.
Wary of putting the horse before the cart, Crichton stressed that the Blues' sole focus was on a Queensland side still smarting from their 22-12 loss at the MCG.
"Obviously that would be a pretty incredible achievement," Crichton said of making some rare Rabbitohs history.
"We've won game one and in the grand scheme of things that doesn't mean anything. I think we can chat about that if we win this next game."
Rabbitohs and Maroons skipper Greg Inglis has of course enjoyed more success in the Origin arena than most can dream of, playing in all bar one (2017) of Queensland's most recent 10 series wins.
Maroons forwards Michael Crocker, Ben Te'o, Chris McQueen and Dave Taylor also featured across Queensland's dynasty while at South Sydney, with ex-Bunnies three-quarter Mitch Brennan also playing three Origins in the early '80s.
While the likes of Craig Wing, Peter Tunks, Tim Brasher and Mark Carroll enjoyed success as New South Welshmen, each of their series wins came while at other clubs.
Crichton and Cook are the first Rabbitohs to be named in the same Blues side since club favourites Les Davidson and David Boyle featured in 1987.
Along with Inglis and Dane Gagai, the pair equal South Sydney's biggest ever Origin contingent, matching the 2013 mark set by Inglis, Te'o, McQueen and the Rabbitohs all-time leading tryscorer Nathan Merritt.
Match: Blues vs Maroons
Game 2 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- Nine Network
Don't miss Game II of Origin at ANZ Stadium on Sunday June 24. Get your tickets here