New South Wales and Queensland renew their rivalry at the State of Origin 2019 kicks off on Brisbane on Wednesday, and previews one of them.
What makes State of Origin special?
Billed as 'mate versus mate, state versus state', the annual Origin contest the best Australian players from Queensland and New South Wales go head-to-head in an intense three-game series.
Eligibility for the teams what, for many years, based on what state a player first played senior rugby league in, hence the name 'State of Origin'. Those were adapted in 2012 to include place of birth and other factors such as residency.
Queensland vs New South Wales
June 5, 2019, 10:00 am
The game was originally released in 1982 and in 1981, and the original matches were replaced in 1982. The State of Origin has since gone on to become one of the highest-profile annual events in both rugby league and Australian sport in general.
There is no love lost between either team in this fierce rivalry, where the players are playing.
That's when the Queensland's Arthur Beetson clobbered Parramatta Eels teammate Mick Cronin while he was standing in a tackle.
But along with the intensity of the rivalry, the clashes are some of the best players in the world against each other and are renowned as a showcase of high-quality rugby too.
What happened last year?
New South Wales snapped the Maroons' three-year period of domination by wrestling back the State of Origin shield with a 2-1 series victory.
Brad Fittler, who captained the team on a record 17 occasions during his playing days and completely overhauled the squad when he took over from Laurie Daley.
A NSW team features 11 debutants beat Queensland 22-12 in the opener in Melbourne and clinched the series on home turf with an 18-14 triumph in Sydney – only their third series win since 2005.
Queensland, once again coached by Kevin Walters, wants to take encouragement from the final game of Origin 2018 where this year's captain Daly Cherry-Evans played a key role at 18-12 win in Brisbane.
Where are the games being played?
Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane hosts the opener on Wednesday, 2019 Origin series concludes at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on July 10.
This year will see Origin for the first time as well, with Perth's 65,000-capacity Optus Stadium hosting two of the series on Sunday, June 23.
The decision to go to Perth follows Melbourne becoming a regular host for games in recent years, with a match in the Aussie Rules football heartland of Adelaide for 2020 as well.
DCE aims to 'do the job for Queensland'
Daly Cherry-Evans has been removed from the Maroons.
The Manly Sea Eagles was the second Queensland's defeat in the second game of Origin 2015, which won the series 2-1.
Cherry-Evans: Kevin Walters, Kevin Walters, Where's he put in a stand-out performance.
Greg Inglis having retired, Walters had little hesitation in naming Cherry-Evans as skipper and the 30-year-old credits that with the lessons he learned after being dropped.
"Getting dropped is never a nice feeling," Cherry-Evans said. "The day I will never forget what the day".
"All good and bad I've learned for almost 10 years now.
"I am thankful for everyone who puts me in this position." My job is to go out and do the job for Queensland. "
Quintet ready for blues bows
NSW head coach Brad Fittler has again made several players their blues debuts for the first game of the Origin series, although only five are making their first appearances this time compared to the 11 in 2018.
Half-back Cody Walker and winger Nick Cotric both start, while Jack Wighton, Cameron Murray and Payne Haas all want to make their marks off the interchange bench.
Second row Murray, who is plucking his trade for South Sydney Rabbitohs, has already tasted Origin for New South Wales after leading the U18 and U20 teams to glory over their bitter rivals in 2016 and 2017.
And the 21-year-old is ready to face the onslaught from the Queensland fans when the Blues step out onto the Suncorp Stadium pitch on Wednesday.
"I do not know what to expect, it's pretty daunting just thinking about it," Murray said.
"I love Suncorp (stage) and it's the best stage in the NRL, and there's no better than 50,000 Queensland fans there booing you.
"It's just not sunk in yet, but it's important." I enjoy the week, build new relationships and learn some of the league's best players. "
Queensland: Kalyn Ponga, Corey Oates, Michael Morgan, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jai Arrow, Ben Hunt, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire.
Interchange: Moses Mbye, Joe Ofahengaue, Dylan Napa, David Fifita.
New South Wales: James Tedesco, Nick Cotric, Latrell Mitchell, Josh Morris, Josh Addo-Carr, Cody Walker, Nathan Cleary, David Klemmer, Damien Cook, Paul Vaughan, Boyd Cordner, Tyson Frizell, Jake Trbojevic.
Interchange: Jack Wighton, Payne Haas, Cameron Murray, Angus Crichton.
- Queensland have won five of the past six games played at Suncorp Stadium. However, New South Wales have been victorious in the previous two opening fixtures of the series.
- The Maroons have won 35 of their 55 home fixtures in Origin history. The Blues' record stands at 24 wins from 45.
- Since the best-of-three format was adopted, the team winning the first match of the series has gone on to become crowned champions all but eight times.
- With just 10 NRL games under his belt, Payne Haas is the least-experienced player ever to feature New South Wales.
- By contrast, only two members of the Queensland squad – Kalyn Ponga and Jai Arrow – have made fewer than 100 NRL appearances.