The 2018 State of Origin Series
Welcome to The Roar‘s coverage of the 2018 State of Origin series, including news, previews, video, highlights and team announcements. We’ll be updating this page daily as the latest news breaks.
In 2018, one game will be played in Melbourne, followed by games in Sydney and Brisbane.
New South Wales will head into the series with a new coach as Brad Fittler takes the reigns from Laurie Daley. Kevin Walters will again coach the Maroons after a successful 2017 series.
The Maroons have won 11 of the last 12 series, but will head into 2018 without stalwarts of that success Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.
The fixtures for the 2018 State of Origin series were announced in November.
|Game 1||Wed Jun 6||8:00 PM||Queensland Maroons||New South Wales Blues||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Game 2||Sun Jun 24||8:00 PM||New South Wales Blues||Queensland Maroons||ANZ Stadium, Homebush|
|Game 3||Wed Jul 11||8:00 PM||Queensland Maroons||New South Wales Blues||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane|
*Important note – most Origin games commence later than this time. The exact kick-off, after the Australian national anthem is performed, and TV specials are completed, is closer to 8:15pm.
2017 State of Origin series
In 2017, Queensland won the series making it 11 series wins in the last 12 years after taking a dominant 22-6 victory over NSW at Suncorp Stadium, with Valentine Holmes scoring three tries.
Holmes scored two tries in the first half of Game 3 to give Queensland a 12-0 advantage at half time. A Josh Dugan try brought it back to 12-6, but a third from Holmes and one from Jarrod Wallace saw Queensland run away with a 22-6 series-deciding victory.
Queensland’s Dane Gagai was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series, becoming just the first winger in the history of Origin to take home the award.
Earlier in the series, the Blues cruised to a 28-4 Game 1 win in Brisbane before the Maroons hit back with a nailbiting 18-16 win in Game 2 in Sydney to set up the decider, courtesy of a last-gasp Johnathan Thurston conversion after Dane Gagai scored two tries in the second half.
History and format
Considered by many as the pinnacle of rugby league, State Of Origin is one of Australia’s premier sporting events, played in front of sold-out stadiums. The series itself is contested between New South Wales and Queensland, who have formed an epic rivalry that has resulted in some of the toughest and most skilful games ever.
Since its inception in 1980, the results between NSW and QLD had been extraordinarily even, contributing further to the competition’s success, until a 12-year streak in which Queensland have won 11 series. Overall the Maroons have won 24 series compared to the Blues’ 13.
In recent years, State of Origin has been played on Wednesday nights, spaced three weeks apart. In 2018 though, the second game of the series will be played as a stand alone game on Sunday night in Sydney. The first and third games will remain on Wednesday nights.
Year-by-year Origin history
2017 Game 1: New South Wales made a positive start to the series, clinching a 28-4 victory away from home.
2017 Game 2: The Maroons returned the favour during Game 2 though, coming from behind in the second half to win 18-16.
2017 Game 3: The Blues never recovered as they travelled north for Game 3, looking like a shell of the team they were in the first game of the series, eventually going down 22-6 to lose another series.
2016 Game 1: The first game of the series saw Queensland take a low-scoring 6-4 victory away from home.
2016 Game 2: Queensland wrapped up the series in straight sets. It was another tight affair, but more open with more points as the Maroons clinnched a 26-16 victory.
2016 Game 3: New South Wales picked up a consolation victory in Game 3, taking an 18-14 victory with a miracle try on the buzzer.
2015 series – how it happened
2015 Game 1: Queensland won the first match of the State of Origin series 11-10, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
2015 Game 2: A record 91,514 fans packed the MCG in Melbourne. NSW won the match 26-18 thanks to a heroic performance from Michael Jennings, forcing a decider which was played in Brisbane.
2015 Game 3: 52,500 people were in Suncorp Stadium to witness a complete domination from the Maroons, who won 52-6. The 46-point win was the biggest winning margin in Queensland Origin history.
2014 series – how it happened
Game 1 of the 2014 series on May 28 saw the two teams take to Suncorp Stadium. The build-up was as tense, and when the teams took the park the action was ferocious.
Despite an early Darius Boyd try, New South Wales enjoyed the ascendency in the first half, with tries to Brett Morris and Jarryd Hayne seeing them take a 10-4 lead.
As the second half began, a penalty goal took the Blues to a 12-4 lead, but Darius Boyd’s second try brought the game back to life. The Blues however didn’t relent, and managed to hold off at fast-finishing Queensland to win 12-8.
Game 2 was competitive, controversial, and full of niggle, which made for a low-scoring contest. But NSW’s 6-4 win resulted in their first series victory over Queensland since 2005.
Queensland took two penalty goals either side of halftime through Johnathan Thurston. But Trent Hodkinson managed to convert pressure into points for the Blues, when after five consecutive sets attacking the Queensland line he slipped through the Maroons’ defence for the only try of the match.
There was a controversial moment at the end of the match, with the ball brushing Aaron Woods before going dead on the full, but the Blues were awarded a penalty, and held on for the win and the series victory.
Game 3 was a ‘dead rubber’ by name, but was still played with passion, pride and intensity. It showed the Queensland team of old, as the Maroons piled on five tries to thrash the Blues 32-8.
Although they only took a 6-2 lead into halftime, the win was built on the back of an opening half where NSW were forced to get through a mountain of defensive work. As a result, the Maroons managed four tries in a clinic of attacking play in the second half.
Tries to Aiden Guerra, Billy Slater, Darius Boyd and Cooper Cronk saw the Maroons home in a thrashing, but it didn’t stop Blues skipper Paul Gallen from holding aloft the shield after the match in front of 50,000 Queenslanders.