Best Origin Debuts

Big Pete

International Captain
Counting down the days till Origin III, I thought it'd be a good chance to look back and celebrate some of the key moments in Origin history.

I'll start us off with a personal favourite - Lote Tuqiri Game I 2001.

Like any Queenslander, I was absolutely livid after last year's series and couldn't wait to give it to the Blues. It seemed as if nobody gave the Maroons a chance heading into that game with so many debutants on show but within minutes that all changed with one of the best tries I've seen. Lockyer finds Tuqiri who breaks away, rockets towards the try line before finding Locky back on the inside.

It was magical, easily one of the best Maroons victories in history.

I can think of plenty of candidates from both states...what do you guys reckon?


QCup Player
Yeah, that 2001 game one team was stacked with debutants - John Doyle was great, and the try Carl Webb put on as well was something else given the occasion. I was there that night, fantastic atmosphere.


State of Origin Rep
Chris Close- young and only two years down in Brisbane, won a comp, played for Qld and then Origin in his second year had moved from Valleys to Dolphins in 1980 and gets MOTM.

Hancock two tries on debut and Qld's biggest ever win.

O'Connor all 18 points for NSW on debut at Lang Park after losing '80-'84. First game of '85 he gets them well on the way to a series win. Then backs it up with 9 points in the second game of their 21 to win the series.


State of Origin Rep
Out there somewhere
Thanks to this thread I've had something good to make my mind wonder at work.

Here are some other great debuts

Allan Langer; game 1 1987
Eric Grothe snr; 1981 game
Brett Hodgson; game 1 2002
Adam Mogg; game 2 2006
Scott Prince; game 1 2004
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Super Freak

International Captain
This just made me look back in my book of NRL lists and I thought I would post what's listed in there as the best Origin debuts.

1. Michael O'Connor (NSW)

Former Wallaby Michael O'Connor won his initial NSW call-up for the 1985 series opener in his third season at St George. On a wet and muddy night at Lang Park, the brilliant centre raced in for the only two tries of the match and added five goals to hold a monopoly on the Blues' scoresheet in an emphatic 18-2 victory. His 18-point haul remained an Origin record for 15 years, and he went on to set the NSW marks for most appearances, tries and points, of which the latter two still stand, in a decorated representative career.

2. Brett Hodgson (NSW)

Lightweight fullback Brett Hodgson racked up extraordinary numbers in his first Origin appearance, a stunning 32-4 series-opening victory for an underdog Blues side featuring eight debutants in 2002. The Parramatta custodian made an incredible five line breaks and 384 metres from 23 runs, including a bust to put Andrew Johns over for a first-half try, and a 90-metre run to score from a scrum win that completed the rout. Unfortunately for the courageous Hodgson, his six-match Origin career is predominantly remembered for the time he was rag-dolled by Gorden Tallis in the '02 decider and the wayward pass he threw in '06 that cost NSW the series.

3. Les Davidson (NSW)

A 1986 Kangaroo, Les Davidson produced a man-of-the-match performance on debut in the following season's Origin series opener. The Souths enforcer made 32 tackles and 18 hit-ups and scored a barnstorming first-half try in the NSW's heart-stopping 20-16 success at Lang Park. He made just four further appearances for the Blues, but remains the only player - other than inaugural man-of-the-match Chris Close - to have been named best on ground on Origin debut.

4. Allan Langer (QLD)

Pint-sized halfback Allan Langer's maiden Origin call-up for game one of the '87 series was questioned in several quarters, including among some of his experienced Queensland teammates. But the Ipswich No.7 silenced the doubters with an inspirational display, quashing misgivings over his suspect defense with several ultra-committed scything efforts among 19 tackles; he also made a line break and was a constant threat in attack. Despite the Maroons' last-minute loss, Langer had arrived. He went on to become one of the contest's most iconic players in 34 appearances.

5. Peter Wallace (NSW)

Brisbane halfback Peter Wallace became the sixth player to be selected in the NSW No.7 in the space of eight matches when he was picked to debut in the 2008 series opener. The Blues started as rank outsiders, but Wallace steered them to a convincing 18-10 boilover, having a hand in three of his side's four tries and dictating terms with a brilliant kicking game that prevented the star-studded Maroons from getting into the contest. Wallace, who made the last of his four Origin appearances in 2009, was desperately unlucky to miss out on man-of-the-match honours on debut.

6. Adam Mogg (QLD)

One of the biggest selection bolters in Origin history, Adam Mogg, replaced Greg Inglis on the wing for game two of the 2006 series as injuries decimated Queensland's backline stocks. The relatively unknown Mogg began a charmed debut by barrelling NSW centre Mark Gasnier into touch in the lead-up to the Maroons' first try, and then scored two superb second-half tries - outfoxing Gasnier to dive over in the corner and complete his double - as his side kept the series alive with a memorable 30-6 thrashing. Mogg scored another spectacular try in Queensland's dramatic decider triumph to seal his place in Origin folklore.

7. Mark O'Meley (NSW)

Less than three weeks after his 20th birthday, aggressive Northern Eagles prop Mark O'Meley was called into the NSW side for the must-win game-two clash in 2001 after Queensland had steamrolled the Blues 34-16 in the series opener. The bald-headed tyro produced an explosive representative debut, making 19 hit-ups for a game-high 222 metres as NSW powered to a 26-8 win. The icing on O'Meley's dream introduction to Origin football was stepping past Shane Webcke, the game's No.1 front-rower, and charging into open territory before sending captain Brad Fittler away for the match-sealing try. O'Meley finished with 10 appearances for the Blues.

8. Mat Rogers (QLD)

Cronulla winger Mat Rogers made the most of a long-awaited opportunity at Origin level by scoring all of Queensland's points in a gripping 9-8 victory in the 1999 series opener. He landed four penalty goals from as many attempts - despite a first-half stint on the sideline with an injured knee - and was narrowly denied a diving try in the corner by the video referee before he snapped a 74th-minute fial goal to snatch a 1-0 series lead for the Maroons. The wiry flyer played four subsequent Origin matches before switching to Rugby Union.

9. John Doyle (QLD)

Cowboys hooker John Doyle was perhaps the least heralded of Queensland's 10 debutants for game one of the 2001 series, but he had a monumental impact in the stunning 36-16 upset. Selected in the No.9, Doyle started on the bench but ripped up the NSW defense after entering the fray in the second half. He made a brilliant break out of dummy-half and linked with Darren Lockyer before backing up the fullback to score the opening try of the second stanza. He was at it again four minutes later, throwing an audacious dummy to again slice through from acting half and set up clubmate John Buttigieg for a try. Doyle capped a dazzling attacking display by starting another long-range movement that led to Chris Walker's four-pointer. He featured in the '01 decider triumph but was dropped after the Maroons' heavy defeat in the following season's series opener.

10. Anthony Minichiello (NSW)

Anthony Minichiello was just 11 games into his tenure as Roosters fullback when he was selected in the NSW No.1 jumper and chosen to debut in game one of the 2003 series. He made an immediate impact at the recently reopened Suncorp Stadium, combining twice with Andrew Johns to notch a first-half double, and his general play at the back was outstanding. Minichiello recorded 20 runs for 227 metres in the Blues' hard-fought 25-12 victory. His stellar representative career was interrupted by a horror run of injuries, but he nevertheless made 11 Origin appearances across nine seasons.


State of Origin Rep
The best debut in my opinion ( qld ) was Danny Nutley. Head and shoulders the best forward on the park that night and the best qld player as well.


State of Origin Captain
The best debut in my opinion ( qld ) was Danny Nutley. Head and shoulders the best forward on the park that night and the best qld player as well.
Sounds like you're about ready to jump on that Sharks bandwagon, mate :P


State of Origin Rep
Sounds like you're about ready to jump on that Sharks bandwagon, mate :P
Wearily, I expound. I've never been off the bandwagon , I have supported the Sharks since about 1973 through to 1988. I had never seen them live but they were my 'Sydney' team. Then the Broncos were born and seeing I was from Ipswich I finally had a team in the Sydney comp. I've been a Broncos fan since. I don't feel bad about changing and won't again but I couldn't in any good conscience support a Sydney team over my true hometown team. They are my number two team.

Doesn't influence my choice of Nutley. He was everything a qlder should be.

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