State Of Origin – Don’t Call It A Comeback


Yours truly spent a few minutes perusing the Wikipedia entry for State of Origin this afternoon[1] and quickly discerned a disturbing trend for fans of the Sky Blues: NSW have only ever recovered from a Game 1 loss to a series win twice.

The first year it happened was 1994. The year of the Queensland “Miracle” play. In game 1, trailing for most of the match, Queensland came within two points of the Blues via a try from Willie Carne.[2]

NSW restarted with a kick into the Maroons half. Then this happened:

Sorry, wrong clip.

Possibly still the greatest phase of Origin play put together for one of the greatest come-from-behind wins in any State of Origin series. A series which Queensland would lose.

Game 1 was but a blip for the Blues, who defeated the Maroons 14-0 in Game 2 in front of a sell-out record crowd (87,161) at the MCG, before heading to Lang Park and Game 3 where they comprehensively outplayed the Maroons 27-12. That was not a shabby Queensland side by any means, either.[3]

The second and only other time the Blues managed to pull it off was in 2005, which once again found them coming unstuck in the dying seconds of a game. Game 1, played at Sun Corp Lang Park, had the Maroons comfortably in control of proceedings: by the 50th minute they were up 19-0 with the Blues on the ropes. Somehow NSW found a way to turn the tide, and found themselves in front 20-19. A young Jonathon Thurston potted a field goal to go to extra time, which lead to Brett Kimmorley’s all-time clanger of a pass which gifted Matty Bowen an intercept and the winning try. Game 2 saw the resurrection of Andrew Johns, who gracefully steered the Blues to victory in a 32-22 scorefest at Telstra Stadium.

If the first two games were reasonably close affairs in terms of score lines then game 3 was a total route for Queensland. Trying to clinch the series at home they were decimated 32-10 by NSW, Matt King scoring a hat trick to join an elite list in Origin history.

And that’s it. From 2005 on the Blues suffered at the hands of the greatest league dynasty ever. Queensland, conversely, have managed the comeback series win in 1982, 1987, 2006, 2008 and 2013. Amazingly, there have only ever been 7 clean sweeps – three for the Blues in 1986, 1996 and 2000, and four for the Maroons in 1988, 1989, 1995 and 2010.

You can extrapolate a lot of things from this data, but the big takeaway for Blues fans might simply be patience – they’re just going to have to wait out the greatest Queensland side of all time.



[1] We only do the deepest research here at the Sportress

[2] Remember him? Fuck he was fast!

[3] Meninga, Langer, Kevin and Steve Walters, Carne, Coyne, Gee, Gilmeister.. and even a young Gordy Tallis.

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