1982 State of Origin series

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1982 State of Origin series
Won by Queensland colours.svg Queensland (1st series title)
Series margin 2–1
Points scored 69
Attendance 67,003 (ave. 22,334 per match)
Top points scorer(s) Queensland colours.svg Mal Meninga (12)
Top try scorer(s) New South Wales colours.svg Ziggy Niszczot & Brad Izzard
Queensland colours.svg John Ribot (2)

The 1982 State of Origin series was the first annual three-match series between New South Wales and Queensland to be played entirely under "state of origin" selection rules. After the matches in 1980 and 1981 that trialed the concept, 'Origin' was fully embraced in 1982, with no matches using the previous seventy-four years' residential-based selection rules ever played again.

The series came down to the deciding third match, which a mistake-riddled New South Wales lost to a more professional Queensland.[1]

Game I

In preparation for the first ever full State of Origin series, the Blues were afforded a two-and-a-half-week preparation under New South Wales' coach Frank Stanton, including time spent training for the annual City vs Country Origin match. Maroons coach Artie Beetson however had only four days to build a team out of his men as Sydney clubs refused to release their players from club duties the weekend before game one.[2] This would lead the QRL to demand more of their players' time to prepare for State of Origin fixtures.

Tuesday, 1 June 1982[3]
New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales 20–16 Queensland colours.svg Queensland
(6 - 2 t) Ziggy Niszczot
(3 - 1 t) Steve Mortimer
(3 - 1 t) Brad Izzard
(8 - 4 g) Mick Cronin
(Report) Mal Meninga (10 - 5 g)
John Ribot (3 - 1 t)
Mitch Brennan (3 - 1 t)
Lang Park
Attendance: 27,326
Referee: Kevin Roberts[4]
Man of the Match: Mal Meninga

New South Wales, captained for the first time by Manly-Warringah hooker Max Krilich who got the job ahead of Parramatta lock Ray Price, won their first Origin match in game I of the 1982 series at Lang Park 20-16, inspired by a fine display from halfback Steve Mortimer but not before resisting another valiant comeback by Queensland. The Blues led 17-6 and appeared to be coasting toward a comfortable victory until centre Mal Meninga – who achieved the rare feat of winning the man-of-the-match award from a losing side – cut a swathe through the New South Wales defence. His destructive bursts led to tries for winger John Ribot and centre Mitch Brennan which cut the Blues’ lead to one point. Mortimer laid on a late try for Penrith's powerful young replacement back Brad Izzard to lift the Blues to a 20-16 lead and the Maroons were then required to battle desperately to hold their line intact for the final minutes. Fullback Greg Brentnall kept the scores tight when he leapt spectacularly to claim a Queensland bomb a minute from full-time.

Game II

For game II, also played at Lang Park, the Maroons made several changes as they tried to keep the series alive. Meninga was sidelined with a shoulder injury, opening the way for the debut of Gene Miles who would go on to star in 20 Origins for Queensland throughout the 1980s and would form a regular Australian Test side pairing with his Origin opposite Brett Kenny, who would debut in the next game.

Maroons coach Arthur Beetson sprang a late surprise when he replaced Manly-Warringah second-rower Paul Vautin, who made his Australian debut a month later in the test series against New Zealand, in the starting line-up with veteran front-rower Rod Morris. Morris had played only a handful of club games for Wynnum-Manly after emerging from retirement, but Beetson's move proved a masterstroke.

Tuesday, 8 June 1982[5]
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 11–7 New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales
(3 - 1 t) John Ribot
(3 - 1 t) Gene Miles
(3 - 1 t) Paul Vautin
(2 - 1 g) Colin Scott
(Report) Brad Izzard (3 - 1 t)
Tony Melrose (4 - 2 g)
Lang Park
Attendance: 19,435
Referee: Barry Gomersall[6]
Man of the Match: Rod Morris

The Queensland plan was to bustle the Blues out of the contest and they were aided in this by Qld referee Barry Gomersall making his own Origin debut and allowing the Maroons enormous latitude in the tackles.

With Morris leading from the front in a man-of-the-match winning performance, Queensland ground New South Wales out of the contest, scoring three tries to one to win 11-7. Miles scored the first try when he ran over the top of Blues fullback Greg Brentnall. The Maroons led 8-7 before Vautin sealed the result with a late try scored after second-rower Rohan Hancock punched a hole in the Blues defence close to the line.

Queensland's win in game 2 ensured that the third game would also be played under Origin rules. According to some reports, had NSW wrapped up the series in the second game, the third game in Sydney would have reverted to the old State of Residence rules and would most likely have been played at Leichhardt Oval instead of on the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Game III

The first three-match series came down to a Game III decider to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the first time the Maroons had played at the ground since 1976. The attendance of 20,242 was the largest for an interstate game in Sydney since 1973 when 19,049 saw NSW defeat Qld 26-0 (reports at the time said NSWRL officials would have been happy if they got 20,000 to Origin's first game in Sydney after years of sub 5,000 crowds for interstate games at Leichhardt Oval). Officiated by a neutral referee – New Zealander Don Wilson, it was the first State of Origin match to be played in Sydney, and for the players, test positions in the Australian team for the upcoming series against New Zealand hung in the balance.

I cannot imagine any match having more appeal than this in the rugby league calendar. If ever the resistance by fans to representative matches in Sydney is to be broken down, this will be the match to do it.

— Frank Hyde, 15 June 1982[7]

The Blues made wholesale changes and among the new faces were Brett Kenny at five-eighth in place of Manly's Alan Thompson, Canterbury centre Phil Sigsworth at fullback, and virtual unknown Moree Boomerangs winger Phillip Duke who had starred for NSW Country in the annual City vs Country Origin match in Sydney, despite City winning the game 47-3.

Tuesday, 22 June 1982[8]
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 10–5 New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales
(4 - 2 g) Mal Meninga
(3 - 1 t) Rohan Hancock
(3 - 1 t) Wally Lewis
(Report) Phillip Duke (3 - 1 t)
Mick Cronin (2 - 1 g)
Sydney Cricket Ground
Attendance: 20,242
Referee: Don Wilson[9] New Zealand
Man of the Match: Wally Lewis

Duke and Sigsworth were involved in one of the most memorable bungles in State of Origin history.[10] With the series poised on a knife’s edge and the score at five all, Sigsworth scrambled to field a Lewis kick in the Blues in-goal. Trapped by Second-rower Paul McCabe, Sigsworth threw a pass to Duke who fumbled the ball and Wally Lewis dived on it for a try that rocked the Blues. However, Qld should not have had the ball at all at that stage. Referee Wilson had penalised Blues halfback Steve Mortimer for a second-row scrum feed 10 metres out from the Maroons try line. In a complete foul up, Wilson had somehow penalised the wrong man as it was actually Qld halfback Mark Murray who had fed the scrum! When Motrimer protested his innocence, Wilson then marched the Blues 10 metres downfield for backchat. It was at the end of the following set of tackles where Lewis put in his kick leading to the Blues fateful fumble.[11] Blues coach Stanton however refused to blame Wilson for the error, or lay blame with Sigsworth and Duke, instead claiming that errors throughout the game had cost NSW victory. Incredibly, NSW failed to complete 27 sets of 6 tackles during the game, often handing Qld the ball in an attacking position.

Queensland went on to win 10–5, claiming the first three-match series 2–1 and their first interstate series win over New South Wales since 1960. Lewis won the first of his record total of eight man-of-the-match awards and beginning a run of five Origin best player awards in six games.

New South Wales squads

Position Game I Game II Game III
Fullback Canterbury colours.svg Greg Brentnall Newtown colours.svg Phil Sigsworth
Wing Canterbury colours.svg Chris Anderson South Sydney colours.svg Ziggy Niszczot Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg Phillip Duke
Centre Parramatta colours.svg Mick Cronin Cronulla colours.svg Steve Rogers Penrith colours.svg Brad Izzard
Centre Cronulla colours.svg Steve Rogers Penrith colours.svg Brad Izzard Parramatta colours.svg Mick Cronin
Wing South Sydney colours.svg Ziggy Niszczot South Sydney colours.svg Tony Melrose Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Terry Fahey
Five-eighth Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Alan Thompson Parramatta colours.svg Brett Kenny
Halfback Canterbury colours.svg Steve Mortimer
Prop Canterbury colours.svg John Coveney North Sydney colours.svg Don McKinnon
Hooker Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Max Krilich (c)
Prop St. George colours.svg Craig Young Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Royce Ayliffe
Second Row South Sydney colours.svg Tony Rampling Parramatta colours.svg John Muggleton Western Suburbs colours.svg Paul Merlo
Second Row Parramatta colours.svg John Muggleton South Sydney colours.svg Tony Rampling Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Les Boyd
Lock Parramatta colours.svg Ray Price
Replacement Penrith colours.svg Brad Izzard Parramatta colours.svg Brett Kenny Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Alan Thompson
Replacement Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Royce Ayliffe St. George colours.svg Craig Young
Coach Balmain colours.svg Frank Stanton

Queensland squads

The 21 players selected by Queensland:

Position Game I Game II Game III
Fullback Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Colin Scott South Sydney colours.svg Mitch Brennan
Wing Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg John Ribot
Centre South Sydney colours.svg Mitch Brennan Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Gene Miles
Centre Western Suburbs colours.svg Mal Meninga St. George colours.svg Graham Quinn Western Suburbs colours.svg Mal Meninga
Wing Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Kerry Boustead Balmain colours.svg Brad Backer Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Kerry Boustead
Five-eighth Valleys colours.svg Wally Lewis (c)
Halfback Valleys colours.svg Mark Murray
Prop Toowoomba Clydesdales colours.svg Rohan Hancock Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Rod Morris
Hooker St. George colours.svg John Dowling
Prop Balmain colours.svg Paul Khan
Second Row Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Bruce Walker Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Rod Morris Toowoomba Clydesdales colours.svg Rohan Hancock
Second Row Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Paul McCabe
Lock Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Paul Vautin Wests Panthers Colours.svg Norm Carr
Replacement Brothers Colours.svg Bob Kellaway Balmain colours.svg Greg Holben[12] Wests Panthers Colours.svg Tony Currie
Replacement Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Gene Miles Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Paul Vautin
Coach Redcliffe colours.svg Arthur Beetson


  1. ^ Clarkson, Alan (24 June 1982). "Hancock cleared of cheek fracture". The Sydney Morning Herald. John Fairfax and Sons Ltd. p. 34. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  2. ^ Gallaway, Jack (2003). Origin: Rugby League's greatest contest 1980-2002. Australia: University of Queensland Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-7022-3383-8.
  3. ^ 1982 State of Origin game 1 at nrlstats.com
  4. ^ State Of Origin - Game 1, 1982 at stats.rleague.com
  5. ^ 1982 State of Origin game 2 at nrlstats.com
  6. ^ State Of Origin - Game 2, 1982 at stats.rleague.com
  7. ^ Hyde, Frank (15 June 1982). "Origin game has a difficult job". The Sydney Morning Herald. John Fairfax and Sons Ltd. p. 24.
  8. ^ 1982 State of Origin game 3 at nrlstats.com
  9. ^ State Of Origin - Game 3, 1982 Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine at stats.rleague.com
  10. ^ Barrow, Tim (6 July 2011). "State of Origin: The deciders". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  11. ^ Rothfield, Phil (2010-08-23). "Buzz names his top 10 NRL chokers". The Daily Telegraph. Australia: News Limited. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  12. ^ Eastern Suburbs Tigers Representative Honours
  • Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney

External links

  • State of Origin 1982 at rugbyleagueproject.org
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