There have been certain rivalries between the different Australian states since time immemorial. One of the biggest ones is between New South Wales and Queensland with the State of Origin rugby series. First played in 1982, it is known as Australian sport’s greatest rivalry. There are no other states or territories involved in the series which is one of the reasons why the competition is so fierce.
The series is, however, played at venues all over Australia which is important for two reasons: Interstate fans have the opportunity to go and watch the series, and it means that with some matches there is no home-crowd advantage for either team.
Historically though, Queensland has been the favorite and, before this year’s series, have won 22 times, compared to NSW’s 16 wins. Queensland also holds the record for the most series wins in a row with 8 between 2006 and 2013. There have been only two draws in the series since its inception, in 1999 and 2002.
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What is the State of Origin?
It is a best two out of three series and is usually played during the mid-season of the annual Australian rugby league series. Each player is selected based on which state they played their first senior game in and, since 2012, what state they are born in is also a part of the selection process. This is because although some players may play for a team in Queensland for example, they may have been born in another state.
Drawn games were effectively abolished after 2002, in favor of the “golden point” sudden-death overtime system where the game is extended for a further 10 minutes until either side scores any sort of point (try or field goal). As soon as someone scores, the game ends.
The 2023 State of Origin
The State of Origin 2023 series is one game down with the Queensland Maroons defeating the NSW Blues 16-10 at Accor Stadium in Sydney on June 8th. This is an excellent result for the Maroons as the Blues are backed as favorites for the series win, especially because they won last year’s State of Origin series very convincingly.
So, while it is a positive push for Queensland, New South Wales will want to hold onto the title, especially coach Brad “Freddy” Fittler, who wants to become the second NSW coach to win 4 titles. The issue for NSW now is that they have to win the next two games to hold onto the title, and this will be no easy feat, especially with Queensland riding high.
There is no doubt the next two games in the series will be exciting for all concerned and luckily it is streamed live free on channel 9 and 9now websites. If you are overseas and want to catch the matches, check your local TV guides as it is being televised in multiple countries. Just be sure to be aware of the time differences.
One thing is for sure, no matter who wins the State of Origin 2023 series, the rivalry between the two great teams will continue for many years to come and will introduce a new generation of fans to the sport. So if you are a fan, be sure to tune in or, if you are in the state where the matches are held, pop on down to the venue and enjoy.