If like me, you’ve been around any form of rugby league social media around State of Origin time, you would be very familiar with a phrase that has been uttered by Queenslanders any chance they get; “NSW don’t get Origin”.
It’s a statement that has gone nuclear since the Adelaide Game 1 win by Queensland despite favourable circumstances for the New South Wales team.
With this vitriol bombarding of our state from the north, I want to have a look into this question and see once and for all, do we get State of Origin as much as our cane toad neighbours?
Firstly, we will investigate how recent series and game results are split between the two states. This means we will not be focusing on the eight-year origin streak held by Queensland from 2006 to 2013, though that is impressive enough until you consider New South Wales’ streak from 1962 to 1981. Funnily enough, 1980 and 1981 are officially given as Queensland wins as one of the three games was classed as an “origin game” leaving the other two games to not count. Not suspicious at all.
From 2019 to Game 1 of 2023, the series wins are split two-all however, the games tally is currently seven wins to six in favour of Queensland due to the game in May. So, when it comes to the recent form of State of Origin, it is extremely close between the two states than it’s been over the previous years.
We will try to aid this investigation when it comes to the biggest moments in State of Origin and comparing the two states however, it doesn’t look good for the New South Welshman. When looking into the greatest moments in Origin, there are only two major moments for New South Wales in the 21st Century. The streak breaker in Game II 2014 and Tedesco’s last-minute try in the decider in 2019. Apart from those two, it is nearly all Queensland.
Just from the last ten years, you have the final win of the eight-year streak, winning the 2020 series which was famously dubbed as Queensland having the worst-ever team that had been formed, and most recently, Ben Hunt blocking a Nathan Cleary field goal and running seventy metres to score a try which secured the 2022 State of Origin series in the decider in Brisbane. Those are just the more immediate ones that come to mind.
From this perspective of State of Origin performance, it can be made that the Queenslanders have had the better share of this aspect, but the performance of a team isn’t really a key decider as if a state “gets it” or not.
However, the final subject is very much a factor that can help define that; the passion of the fans.
Queensland’s obsession is not surprising when it comes to the State of Origin, whether the reasons be about pride of their state, the hatred of New South Wales, or the fact that it’s one of the only things they can ever have over New South Wales and Queensland have a chip on their shoulder about it. But that’s beside the point.
Queensland is passionate but isn’t New South Wales too? Probably not to the same mental extent as Queensland, but yes. The full encapsulation of this would have to be Game II, 2014 as this game ended the reign of Queensland’s dominance. With a two-point gap being the only difference, it was enough to send our NSW state into madness being a moment that will never be tarnished…besides from the guy who ran it out of play and what has happened to him since his retirement.
Even when looking at 2021, New South Wales was a force to be reckoned with. With all three games in Queensland due to COVID-19, New South Wales won 50-6 in Game I in Townsville and would clinch the series in Game II at Suncorp Stadium, keeping Queensland scoreless at 26-0. So, if New South Wales didn’t “get it” then, then I don’t know when.
In conclusion, the argument of whether New South Wales “gets” State of Origin kind of doesn’t make sense from any side of the coin. It would even be weird if the tables were flipped, and Queensland was accused of not “getting it”. I think that even though the passion may not be the exact fanaticism as Queensland, there is still plenty of passion south of the border.