There’s nothing like good rivalries in sports. It’s two teams who are familiar with each other, in games that mean more than a win or a loss. Rivalries take on even more meaning when they further embody nationalism or regionalism. The latter is the case this week in Australia, with the start of the 40th annual State of Origin series. The first contest of the series is this Wednesday, June 9, with the other two taking place later this month and early in July respectively.
Sitting on the eastern coast of Australia are the states of Queensland and New South Wales. Each year, the two states compete in a best-of-three series called the State of Origin.
History of State of Origin and Player Eligibility
According to the New South Wales Rugby League website, the State of Origin came about as a way to generate competitive contests between the two states. Since 1908 the two states had played the sport competitively against each other, in a sort of all-star game between rugby players that were playing in the respective region. The website goes on to state a 70-year run dominated by the South New Wales team. Known as the Blues, New South Wales won over 70 percent of the annual contests in that time. Watch the state of origin live online
Due to this, new rules were adopted, with teams being composed of where the players were born and/or raised, rather than where they were playing professionally. A three-game series was also implemented at this time. The New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons compete each year for the traveling Origins Shield.
The event’s name stems from the qualifications in place for how the teams are made; rugby players who were born, raised, or have played most of their career from Juniors competitions are eligible to play in the tournament, representing their state of origin. International players may also be eligible to participate on behalf of one state or the other if their father played in a State of Origin series.
|Game 1||Wednesday, June 9, 2021||6:10 AM EST / 5:10 AM CST / 3:10 AM PST (8:10 PM AEST/Local)||Queensland Country Bank Stadium||Townsville, Queensland||TBD|
|Game 2||Sunday, June 27, 2021||Suncorp Stadium||Brisbaine, Queensland||TBD|
|Game 3||Wednesday, July 14, 2021||Stadium Australia||Sydney, New South Wales||TBD|
Who Won the State of Origin Series in 2020
Like most things last year, the State of Origin, usually a summer event, was postponed until the fall. In November, it was the Queensland Maroons that won the series 2-1. The Maroons took the first match last year, followed by the Blues really dominating in the second contest to even it at 1-1. The final match was a tight one, but Queensland prevailed, winning by six points in full time.