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The Maroons celebrate their 1987 Origin series triumph.

Rugby league Immortal Wally Lewis won eight man of the match awards at Origin level, dominating the game's fiercest contest like no other player.

Lewis was there on opening night in 1980 as Big Artie led Queensland to an emotional win and 31 games later he retired from Origin with a series win in 1991.

Now with the 2020 series fast approaching 'The King' has been crowned the best five-eighth ever to play Origin in our poll, beating out fellow Maroons Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer.

The first Blues legend to break the Queensland dominance was Brad Fittler, who came in fourth in the voting.

Since Lewis launched his rivalry with Blues stars like Brett Kenny and Alan Thompson in the early 80s, the showpiece clashes have been graced by an array of fabulous five-eighths but it's The King who reigns supreme.

Best five-eighth to ever play Origin

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Best five-eighth in Origin history

(in alphabetical order)

Trent Barrett

It was a stop-start Origin career for Barrett – playing 11 games over a 14-year period (1997-2010) – but one thing that never stopped was Barrett's accurate torpedo passes out to his back line.

He was a part of three winning series for NSW from the seven he played in, including the back-to-back Blues campaigns of 2004-05 when he partnered Brad Fittler and Brett Kimmorley in the halves. In the 2002 series he played alongside Andrew Johns with both players possessing sublime cut-out passes to set up tries.

Barrett also formed a potent combination with hooker Michael Ennis for his final three games in 2009-10. No-one read the numbers in defence better than Barrett.

Trent Barrett savours the Blues' 2004 series triumph.
Trent Barrett savours the Blues' 2004 series triumph.

Laurie Daley

At the peak of his powers in the early 90s Daley captained the Blues to a rare three-peat, forming a lethal combination with fellow Raiders Ricky Stuart and Bradley Clyde.

Daley was a gifted attacker but also one of the best defensive five-eighths to ever play the game, capable of rattling forwards and backs alike with a driving tackle.

Daley looks to power through the Robbie O’Davis and Darren Smith tackle in 1999.
Daley looks to power through the Robbie O’Davis and Darren Smith tackle in 1999.

Much like Maroons legend Wally Lewis, "Loz" could pick his teammates up and carry them across the line when things looked grim.

Bagged six tries in his 23 matches and was a constant threat to tiring defenders with his step and speed.

Brad Fittler

Equally damaging at centre, lock or five-eighth, "Freddy" carved out one of the all-time great Origin careers.

The Blues’ most-capped player with 31 appearances, he played centre in the outstanding Blues side which won three straight series between 1992-94 and then captained his state to a 3-0 sweep in 1996 from five-eighth.

Fittler possessed a superb kicking and passing game and could leave defenders grasping at thin air with a prodigious sidestep which sparked many a raid for the Blues.

Farewelled the Origin arena in grand style in 2004 as the Blues belted Queensland 36-14 in Sydney and "Freddy" grabbed a try.

Brad Fittler looks to break away from the Maroons defence.
Brad Fittler looks to break away from the Maroons defence.

Brett Kenny

The man called "Bert" reached out to score one of the most famous tries in Origin history at the SCG as the Blues wrapped up their first-ever series win.

One of the most gifted players of his era, Kenny played 17 times for NSW between 1982 and '87, matching wits with Maroons maestro Wally Lewis in a string of epic contests.

Kenny was blessed with great vision, a blistering sidestep and a deft passing game which made him a nightmare to match up against – even for "The King".

Brett Kenny played 17 Origins for the Blues.
Brett Kenny played 17 Origins for the Blues.

Peter Jackson

Jackson played a key role in Queensland's series wins in 1987, '88 and '91, bringing a rare mix of passion and skill to the table in a star-studded back line packed with Maroons royalty.

Spent much of his time at centre but did plenty of ball-playing and moved into the No.6 role alongside Allan Langer after Wally Lewis had retired.

Always wore his heart on his sleeve and wasn't about to take a backward step in 1991 when Mark Geyer fired up and all hell broke loose at the SFS.

Peter Jackson played 16 Origins for the Maroons.
Peter Jackson played 16 Origins for the Maroons.

Wally Lewis

"The King" played 31 games for the Maroons, launching his glittering career on opening night in 1980 and stamping his class on countless Origin epics before signing off in 1991.

An inspirational leader who could hurt the Blues in so many ways, whether it be with a raking kick, a brutal tackle or a powerful run, Lewis willed the Maroons to victory in plenty of games they seemed destined to lose.

Formed a magnificent scrum-base combination with Allan Langer as the Maroons dominated the Origin arena between 1987-89, winning eight of the nine games and running rings around a string of Blues playmakers including Kenny, Sterling, Lyons, Lamb, Hasler and Alexander.

Wally Lewis sparks the Maroons attack.
Wally Lewis sparks the Maroons attack.

Darren Lockyer

If Lewis was "The King" then this bloke was "The Prince".

After playing his first 15 Origin games at fullback, Lockyer made a seamless transition into the No.6 jumper and masterminded the greatest period of dominance in the 40-year history of the famous rivalry.

In 2006 he scored the match-winning try in Game III as the Maroons launched a dynasty that would see them win eight series on the bounce.

Lockyer’s astute kicking game, dazzling speed and footballing nous won plenty of games for Queensland as he and Johnathan Thurston helped the Maroons rewrite the history books.

Darren Lockyer sparks the Maroons.
Darren Lockyer sparks the Maroons.

James Maloney

After tasting defeat in this first three series, Maloney's wily and cunning kicking game underpinned his vital role in NSW's groundbreaking 2018-2019 wins under new coach Brad Fittler.  

James Maloney celebrates with Blues fans after the win in Game 2, 2019.
James Maloney celebrates with Blues fans after the win in Game 2, 2019. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

He brought that club understanding by teaming up with his Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary in the Blues halves for five of his last six games – producing four wins. Then he linked with his former Roosters premiership-winning teammate in Mitchell Pearce to go out a winner in Game 3, 2019.

He racked up 70 points in his 14 games from two tries and 31 goals, including five from five in his final match. 

Johnathan Thurston

Didn't take "JT" long to strike up a lethal partnership with Darren Lockyer before taking over that No.6 jersey on Locky's retirement to be just as potent outside Cooper Cronk.  

Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston.
Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston.

He broke Mal Meninga's Origin point-scoring record with his 220 from five tries, 99 goals, and two field goals over 37 games. He also broke Gary Larson's record of 24 continuous games for the Maroons.

Whether it was his show-and-go in attack, or running the length of the field in cover defence, JT's never-say-die attitude was infectious across the whole Queensland team. 

He lost his first series (2005) but then was central in Queensland's eight-year reign (2006-2013). No-one will forget his conversion from the sideline with a busted shoulder to clinch an 18-16 victory and force the 2017 series into a decider – it ended up being his last contribution in Origin.

Kevin Walters

A born winner who played 20 Origins between 1989-99, Walters was the perfect foil for his little mate Allan Langer.

Walters simply oozed passion for the Maroons and when the game was on the line he was at his best, throwing the final pass for Tonie Carroll to score the match-winner in an epic opening game of the 1998 series.

From player to coach, Kevin Walters has given a lifetime of service to the Maroons.
From player to coach, Kevin Walters has given a lifetime of service to the Maroons.

He also had a hand in the 1994 Mark Coyne miracle try and was renowned for bobbing up in support all over the paddock when Queensland launched their trademark late comebacks.



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