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Wet-weather Origin: Rain, pain and hard to explain

There is a certain charm that emerges whenever the heavens open during a big match.

When you add the uncertainty of wet-weather football to the high-pressure, high-intensity world of State of Origin, all bets are off. 

Tempers become frayed, errors abound and unlikely heroes emerge.

In the 40 years of Origin football, rain has been a major player on more than a handful of occasions.

Rain is forecast for Adelaide on Wednesday for the Ampol State of Origin series opener but hopefully the historic first clash in the South Australian capital is not marred by wet weather.

NRL.com takes a look at the most memorable rain-affected matches.

The wettest matches in State of Origin history

Swinging in the rain

Game 2, 1991, NSW won 14-12 at Sydney Football Stadium

Such was the chaos caused by Mark Geyer in his running battle with just about everyone in maroon, the thrilling conclusion to this epic clash is often forgotten.

Blues winger Michael O’Connor’s match-winning goal in driving Sydney rain was one of the best pressure kicks ever landed in Origin. The famous Geyer v Lewis stoush probably ended in a draw but O’Connor’s clutch kick ensured NSW won where it mattered – on the scoreboard.

Dowling's miracle try

Game 2, 1984, Queensland won 14-2 at SCG

Props don’t score tries like the one Maroons enforcer Greg Dowling produced on an SCG mudheap in 1984.

Wally Lewis put a chip over the top and the heavy leather ball struck the crossbar and was dropping to the turf when Dowling came charging through to scoop it up and score.

On a night when the Blues couldn’t manage a try, Dowling showed them how it was done a with a try for the ages.

Full Match Replay: Blues v Maroons - Game 2, 1984

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Swimming with Eels

Game 2, 1983, NSW won 10-6 at SCG

No fewer than eight Parramatta players made the NSW team, including all bar one member of the backline. Eels duo Neil Hunt and Steve Ella scored the Blues’ two tries and Peter Sterling took home man of the match as the Blues defied a star-studded Maroons outfit and testing conditions to square the series.

Wet, wet, wet

Game 2, 1999, NSW won 12-8 at Stadium Australia

Still regarded as the wettest Origin ever played at Sydney’s Olympic stadium, the match started in a blaze of glory for the home side when fullback Robbie Ross scored a try after just 42 seconds after brilliant lead-up work by Andrew Johns, Laurie Daley and Ryan Girdler.

Blues legend Daley also bagged a try in his second-last Origin game while Mat Rogers scored all eight points for the Maroons with a try and two goals.

Full Match Replay: Blues v Maroons - Game 2, 1987

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The King and the Prince

Game 2, 1987, Queensland won 12-6 at SCG

After a magnificent defensive stand the Maroons won the night at the SCG and two of their all-time greats Lewis and Langer walked off covered in mud and covered in glory.

Both men were born for this arena. Lewis and Langer had a unique bond right from the time a youthful Alfie came into the Queensland side in game one of 1987.

After losing that game the Lewis-led Maroons headed to Sydney hellbent on squaring the series. They did just that in a muddy classic and Lewis and Langer had their first win together.

The Raging Bull vs Hollywood Harrigan

Game 1, 2000, NSW won 20-16 at Stadium Australia

Emotions bubbled over in the series opener in 2000 and a wet and wild night ended with Gorden Tallis being sent from the field for calling referee Bill Harrigan a cheat.

Tallis was convinced the Blues had knocked on twice in the lead-up to a Ryan Girdler try and he chased Harrigan downfield to tell him what he thought of the non-call. "There’s no way I was wearing that so I sent him off," Harrigan said in 40 Years of State of Origin.

Extended Highlights: Maroons v Blues

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Blues reign in the rain

Game 2, 2019, NSW won 38-6 at Optus Stadium, Perth

Welcome to Perth. The first Origin match ever played in the golden west will be remembered for a dominant NSW performance, a sensational venue at Optus Stadium and a bucket load of rain.

Blues coach Brad Fittler copped plenty of heat in the lead-up after making plenty of changes to a beaten side after Game One but the new boys shone as the Blues ran in six tries to square the series.

Alfie makes a point

Game 2, 1992, Qld won 5-4 at Lang Park

From Thurston to Lockyer to Cronk to Lewis and of course Langer, magical Maroons playmakers have made a habit of breaking Blues hearts during the past four decades. On this night at their spiritual home Lang Park, Alfie popped a field with a minute to play to level the series.

Martin Bella and Peter Jackson were banished to the bin by Bill Harrigan within 10 minutes of each other leaving Queensland with 11 men at one stage of the game but they hung tough and Langer came up trumps.

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