Best Origin matches, finishes & tries.

Super Freak

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Best Origin Matches

1. Game 2, 1991 - Lewis and Geyer collide


One of the most fiery Origin clashes ever played, the second game of the 1991 series was a gripping affair from beginning to end. With the rain teeming down at the SFS, the game exploded on the stroke of halftime with NSW leading 8-6. An unnecessary high shot from Blues firebrand Mark Geyer on Queensland rake Steve Walters set the game alight and the two teams went to halftime with Wally Lewis and Mark Geyer being separated by referee David Manson. More fireworks ensued in the second stanza, but Queensland looked set to wrap the series up when Dale Shearer sliced through to give the Maroons a 12-8 lead with just five minutes remaining and rain still pouring down. Mark McGaw quickly answered for NSW, however, before Michael O'Connor landed a pressure sideline conversion to keep the series alive 14-12.

2. Game 1, 1994 - That's not a try, it's a miracle

The opening game of the 1994 Origin series is remembered for perhaps the competition's most iconic moment: Mark Coyne's match-winning try. NSW held the upper hand after a sensational Brad Mackay try set up by a sublime Brad Fittler chip that was collected by skipper Laurie Daley, who linked up with an unmarked Mackay. Willie Carne brought the scores back to 12-10 with five minutes on the clock, and then, with a minute to play, the miracle. The Maroons went 60 metres, using the width of the field, with Coyne playing the ball to Meninga, who swept it to Langer, who put Carne away, who threw a one-hander to Renouf. The centre linked with Hancock, who passed to Darren Smith, who offloaded to Langer. Langer hit Meninga, who gave the ball to Coyne cutting back in. The Dragons centre burrowed his way over, giving Queensland it's most famous win 16-12.

3. Game 3, 2012 - Cronk keeps the streak alive

The deciding game of the 2012 series at Suncorp Stadium was an absolute classic. In what was Petero Civoniceva's farewell game at the ripe age of 36, Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk broke one of the tightest series ever played Queensland's way when he landed a 41-metre field goal with just seven minutes remaining. Queensland led 16-8 at the break, but Todd Carney levelled the scores 20-apiece with a pressure sideline conversion with 10 minutes left in the contest. Cronk's incredible drop goal proved the difference, though, giving Queensland seven straight series wins.

4. Game 1, 1998 - Carroll crashes over

Following three years of division caused by the Super League War, the game reunited in 1998 and the first match was an absolute belter. In a clash that saw the lead change five times and Queensland eventually win 24-23, debutant Tonie Carroll proved the hero for the Maroons. It seemed NSW had secured victory when Steve Menzies scored a try with five minutes to go, but Andrew Johns' missed conversion kept the game alive. The decisive play came from Kevin Walters, who kicked early in the set downfield. Ben Ikin won the chase, and three plays later Walters popped a short ball to Carroll, who crashed over next to the posts with 45 seconds remaining. Darren Lockyer slotted the goal and the Maroons had pulled a remarkable victory from the fire.

5. Game 1, 1987 - NSW sparkes

In the most remarkable finish in the first decade of State of Origin, NSW stunned a disbelieving Lang Park crowd when an incredible Mark McGaw try gave the Blues a remarkable win. NSW led 16-6 before the Maroons rallied, with Wally Lewis orchestrating tries to Dale Shearer and Tonie Currie that levelled the scores with just five minutes to play. Inside the last minute, the Blues found an overlap with Andrew Ettingshausen and McGaw combining to get close to the Maroon's line. McGaw's pass was deflected by Currie before a scramble in the Maroons' in-goal ensued, with McGaw and Peter Jackson grappling. 'Sparkles' McGaw got the ball down just a blade of grass before the dead-ball line. Referee Mick Stone awarded the try, leaving Wayne Bennett's Maroons in utter shock.

6. Game 2, 1989 - Courageous Maroons survive

In what was unquestionably the most courageous Origin showing of all, an injury-ravaged Queensland desperately held off NSW. In front of a packed and baying SFS crowd, scores were locked at 6-apiece when the teams went for oranges, but it was the Blues holding the cards after Allan Langer was carted off with a broken ankle and Mal Meninga suffered a fractured eye socket. A busted elbow forced Paul Vautin off at halftime, and soon after the break Michael Hancock succumbed to a shoulder injury. Workhorse backrower Bob Lindner, who had played much of the match with a broken leg, could take no more in the final 15 minutes and the Maroons had just 12 men. The Blues kept coming, but the Maroons held firm for an awe-inspiring 16-12 win highlighted by Wally Lewis's iconic try.

7. Game 1, 2004 - Golden Timmins

A stunning Shaun Timmins field goal gave NSW a remarkable victory in State of Origin's first golden point game. It was a low-scoring affair, with Queensland leading 4-0 at halftime after a Scott Prince dummy-half try. A Timmins touchdown levelled the scores and Craig Fitzgibbon's conversion put the Blues in front before Brent Tate finished off more Prince handiwork for Queensland to lock up the scores at 8-all. But it took just over two minutes of Origin's first instalment of golden point for Timmins to belt one of the competition's finest field goals. Timmins - in what was his second ever field goal - kicked the ball 37 metres to cap a stunning game.

8. Game 3, 2006 - Blues collapse

Queensland's incredible series streak started in dire circumstances for NSW. With 10 minutes to go, the Blues were leading 14-4 and seemed to have the 2006 series in their grasp. However, the Maroons clawed their way back into it with a beautiful Johnathan Thurston step putting Brent Tate away, the star centre racing 60 metres to score. Darren Lockyer then proved the hero by swooping on a loose Brett Hodgson pass deep in Blues territory and fending off Luke Bailey to score a memorable match-winner and kick off the Maroons' historic winning streak.

9. Game 3, 2002 - A draw does it

Just the second draw in Origin history, the 2002 decider saw the game finish with scores level but Queensland retaining the shield. The match was filled with plenty of memorable moments: Gordon Tallis rag-dolling Brett Hodgson over the sideline; Shane Webcke's steamrolling try; video referee Chris Ward's contentious no-try decision against Darren Lockyer; and, of course, Dane Carlaw's open-field try that levelled the scores 18-apiece with 50 seconds remaining and gave the Maroons a series-saving draw.

10. Game 2, 1992 - Alf's field goal

Allan Langer was known for many skills, but booting field goals was not one of them - that is, until the second game of the 1992 series at Lang Park. Queensland debutant Billy Moore scored the only try of the match - an 11-man Maroons team at one stage holding the Blues out after two players were sin-binned - while Rod Wishart's two penalty goals left the scores locked 4-all at the break. A desperate second stanza failed to see the deadlock broken until the final minute, when Langer potted a well-timed 18-metre one-pointer to give ecstatic Queensland a 5-4 victory.
 
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Super Freak

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Best Origin Finishes

1. Game 1, 1994 - Mark Coyne's miracle try


Behind 4-12 after struggling to keep pace with the Blues all night at the SFS, Queensland clung to a glimmer of hope when winger Willie Carne finished off a hot-potato try with five minutes to go, reducing the deficit to two points. The underdogs then concocted arguably the greatest match-winning try in the code's history in the dying stages. Starting on their own 40-metre line, the Maroons swept the ball from one sideline to the other and back again, passing it through 10 sets of hands before replacement back Mark Coyne stepped the NSW cover defence and reached out to score in the corner. Queensland had escaped with a 16-12 victory for the ages, one sure to haunt Blues players and supporters for eternity.

2. Game 3, 2002 - Carlaw's charge

After video referee had mystifyingly denied Queensland fullback Darren Lockyer a series-sealing touchdown, NSW snatched an 18-14 lead with five minutes of the 2002 decider to go courtesy of a Jason Moodie try. But as the clock ticked over into the 80th minute, veteran halfback Allan Langer - playing his 34th and final Origin match - shifted the ball to hard-running backrower Dane Carlaw on the Blues' 40-metre line. Carlaw fended off Moodie and strode into open territory before brushing off fullback Brett Hodgson to plunge over for a dramatic try out wide, stunning the Sydney crowd. Lote Tuqiri's missed conversion after the bell was academic - as the current holders Queensland retained the shield with the 18-all draw.

3. Game 1, 1998 - Kevvie's big gamble

Queensland trailed by five points with less than two minutes of the '98 series opener remaining when, coming off their own line, Maroons five-eighth Kevin Walters produced one of the great all-or-nothing plays, booting the ball downfield. Ben Ikin won a desperate chase to the ball on halfway, and Queensland worked the ball into NSW's quarter over the next two rucks. A slick interchange of short passing stretched the Blues and saw Walters send debutant Tonie Carroll over near the posts with 45 seconds on the clock. Another first-gamer, fullback Darren Lockyer, slotted the pressure conversion after the siren to clinch an extraordinary 24-23 SFS triumph. The loss brought back harrowing memories for the seven NSW players who had endured a last-minute loss at the same venue in the corresponding match four years earlier.

4. Game 1, 1987 - McGaw's mad scramble

NSW debutant Mark McGaw scored the match-winning try after a crazy sequence inside the final 90 seconds of the '87 series opener at Lang Park. With the scores locked 16-all, Blues halves Peter Sterling and Brett Kenny combined to create an overlap on Queensland's 40-metre line. Kenny linked with Andrew Ettingshausen, who put clubmate McGaw away down the sideline. McGaw's return pass to 'ET' was desperately knocked down by Tonie Currie before the ball ricocheted off Peter Jackson's boot back into the in-goal. McGaw and Jackson grappled in a frantic chase, and the Blues centre planted his hand on the ball just inside the dead-ball line. Referee Mick Stone pointed to the spot, to the disbelief of the Maroons players - but replays showed he had made the correct call and NSW went one-up.

5. Game 2, 1991 - O'Connor's goal of a lifetime

Queensland led 12-8 near the end of the explosive second Origin clash of 1991, played in a Sydney downpour. But NSW trudged into the Maroons' quarter on the back of a series of daring offloads before Ricky Stuart's long speculative pass found centre Mark McGaw, who angled between three defenders to slide over in the corner. Michael O'Connor, who had missed a conversion from a similar position to draw the series opener and was dropped before injuries gave him a reprieve, curled the conversion through from the right touchline to edge the Blues in front with two and a half minutes remaining. Seldom remembered, however, are the frantic final stages after NSW fumbled the kick-off. Des Hasler narrowly beat Willie Carne to a Langer kick in the Blue' in-goal, while NSW was forced to rebuff more pressure after the subsequent line dropout with 50 seconds left. The home side hung on for a dramatic 14-12 win to level the series.

6. Game 1, 2006 - Finch's match-winner

An 11th-hour, fourth-choice inclusion as NSW halfback for the 2006 series opener, Brett Finch would prove the match-winner in the dying stages. Queensland had fought back from a 0-14 deficit to level at 16-all after Johnathan Thurston's 77th-minute sideline conversion of Steve Bell's try. But Finch stepped up with 90 seconds on the clock and drilled a 35-metre field goal down the middle, thereby becoming an unlikely Origin hero with the No.20 on his back.

7. Game 2, 1993 - Big Mal's bad decision

One of the finest Origin matches on record finished with one of the great missed opportunities. NSW led 16-12 inside the final 90 seconds of a topsy-turvy SFS encounter when the Maroons desperately began to fling the ball around 10 metres out from their own line. Skipper Mal Meninga put lock Bob Lindner into space on the flank and backed up to take a return offload before speeding away from the Blues forwards Paul Sironen and Glenn Lazarus, and bumping off fullback Tim Brasher on halfway. Meninga charged down the right-hand sideline and only had the cover defence of Laurie Daley to beat, but he propped and passed to cumbersome forward Mark Hohn instead of taking the NSW captain on, and the move broke down. The Blues' heart-stopping win sealed a second straight series triumph.

8. Game 2, 1992 - Alfie's deadlock-breaker

A try to Queensland's debutant lock Billy Moore and two penalty goals to NSW winger Rod Wishart was the sum total of the scoring in the first 78 minutes on a rainy night at Lang Park in '92. However, after a Queensland scrum win, diminutive halfback Allan Langer broke the deadlock with a little over 60 seconds to go when he drifted behind a screen and snapped a field goal from just inside the Blues' 20-metre line. The Maroons claimed the Blues' desperate short kick-off and squared the series via the 5-4 result.

9. Game 1, 2005 - Bowen's golden point intercept

A phenomenal series opener at Suncorp saw Queensland storm out to a 19-0 lead before NSW scored four unanswered second-half tries to snatch a one-point advantage. The Maroons' debutant halfback Johnathan Thurston forced the match into golden point with a wobbly field goal from close range just over two minutes from fulltime. In the fourth minute of extra-time, Blues No.7 Brett Kimmorley sealed his place in intercept infamy when he fired a cut-out pass in the direction of his centre Matt Cooper. The ball was plucked out of the air by Maroons interchange Matt Bowen, who raced 40 metres for the match-winning try.

10. Game 1, 2004 - Timmins' towering field goal

History was made when the tense Sydney series opener in 2004 became the first Origin match to go into golden point after the scores were locked at 8-all at fulltime. The match-winning play came from an unlikely source, with makeshift five-eighth Shaun Timmins hammering over a magnificent 37-metre field goal in the third minute of added time.
 
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Super Freak

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Best Origin Tries

1. Mark Coyne - Queensland, Game 1, 1994


Queensland's "miracle" try started and ended with Mark Coyne in arguably the most memorable moment in Origin history. Inside the final minute and with the Maroons trailing 10-12, Coyne played the ball on his own 40 and it was collected from dummy-half by Mal Meninga, who swung it to Allan Langer, who fired it to Kevin Walters, who in turn hit Willie Carne. Carne straightened the attack before throwing an overhead basketball pass over Rod Wishart to Steve Renouf. The headgear-wearing centre took off down the left sideline for 20 metres before flipping the ball back inside to winger Michael Hancock, who got away an incredible pass to Darren Smith after being smashed by Andrew Ettingshausen. Smith hit a charging Langer, who found Meninga as a desperate David Gillespie held on. Meninga headed towards the corner before passing to Coyne, who then ducked inside through the tackle of Brad Fittler and under the last-ditch attempt of Ricky Stuart for an incredible match-winner. "That's not a try, that's a miracle!" screamed caller Ray Warren.

2. Billy Slater - Queensland, Game 2, 2004

One of the greatest individual tries ever scored, Billy Slater's chip-and-chase beauty in the second game of the 2004 series was sheer magic. In just his second Origin, Slater steamed on to a Darren Lockyer grubber inside Queensland's own half. He veered right before chipping left over Anthony Minichiello's head and outsprinting Blues winger Luke Lewis to scoop the ball up on the try-line and dive over. Slater spiked the ball in celebration - he'd just put the Maroons on top in what would be a series-levelling 22-18 victory.

3. Matt Gidley - New South Wales, Game 3, 2000

NSW centre Matt Gidley scored a double on debut in the Blues' 56-16 rout of Queensland in 2000, including arguably the greatest try in the state's history. Gidley finished an incredible movement that started with a scrum 40 metres out on the right edge that went wide to the left and came back to the right corner through 11 sets of hands before Gidley dived over. Andrew Johns made the initial break and then switched play with his second touch as the Blues desperately flung the ball to the right. Johns then touched the ball for a third time, throwing the final pass to Gidley in a spectacular four-pointer.

4. Greg Dowling - Queensland, Game 2, 1984

Maroons prop Greg Dowling scored one of the unlikeliest tries in State of Origin history on a rain-sodden SCG. Camped 10 metres out from the NSW try-line, Wally Lewis put up a chip towards the Blues' posts. Garry Jack and Peter Tunks turned to collect the kick but it clunked into the crossbar and bounced back towards Dowling, who took a fingertip catch off his bootlaces in the pouring rain before sliding over.

5. Jarryd Hayne - New South Wales, Game 1, 2007

A prodigious 19-year-old debutant in the opening game of the 2007 season, NSW winger Jarryd Hayne put his amazing skill set on display just before halftime when he scored a jaw-dropping try. Queensland centre Brent Tate put in a grubber on halfway, but it was trapped by Hayne. With no momentum and facing his own try-line, Hayne picked up the ball and pushed off Justin Hodges before tiptoeing down the sideline. He then grubbered past the Queensland cover and won the race to finish an incredible try.

6. Tonie Carroll - Queensland, Game 1, 1998

Maroons enforcer Tonie Carroll scored just one try in his lengthy State of Origin career, but it could not have been more important. NSW seemed to have the opening game of the '98 series - Carroll's debut match - in its keeping with a 23-18 lead and less than two minutes to play. Stuck on their own 10-metre line, Maroons pivot Kevin Walters kicked on the first tackle for a flying Ben Ikin, who won the race for the ball some 45 metres out from the try-line. The Maroons kept driving and three tackles later they were just 10 metres away. Jason Smith put a jink on and landed outside his opposite, hitting brother Darren, who threw a deft ball to Kevin Walters, whose pass to a charging Carroll was equally sublime. Carroll crashed over near the sticks, with Darren Lockyer's after-the-bell conversion wrapping up a famous 24-23 victory.

7. Mark McGaw - New South Wales, Game 1, 1987

Mark McGaw's magnificent winner on debut in the opening game of the 1987 series was perhaps the most thrilling moment NSW fans enjoyed during the Queensland-dominated 1980s. The scores were locked at 16-all with less than two minutes to play when McGaw flashed on to an Andrew Ettingshausen pass down the right edge. McGaw raced 20 metres before tossing the ball back inside to 'ET', who became tangled up with Queenslander Peter Jackson. The ball was knocked down by Tonie Currie before hitting Jackson's foot and rolling into Queensland's in-goal. In a desperate chase, McGaw outpaced Jackson and grounded the ball just inside the dead-ball line to settle a famous victory.

8. Wally Lewis - Queensland, Game 2, 1989

A try that came to personify Wally Lewis's brilliance and determination, the Queenslander skipper's solo effort in the second game of the '89 series was something special. Queensland halfback Michael Hagan collected a spilt NSW ball 30 metres out from the Blues line and quickly scooped it to Lewis, who went on a fierce angled run to the corner. He sliced between Chris Mortimer and the lunging Laurie Daley before fending off fullback Garry Jack and crashing over out wide. Lewis pumped his fists in celebration of a spectacular individual try.

9. Adam Mogg - Queensland, Game 3, 2006

A left-field selection from Canberra for the final two games of the 2006 series, Adam Mogg would become the hero of Queensland's series win after scoring a double in game two and then capping off his fairytale call-up with a magnificent try in the decider. With the game scoreless after 10 minutes, Maroons half Johnathan Thurston bombed for the corner. Mogg came flying through and leapt over Eric Grothe Jr to pluck the ball, but appeared to be pushed into touch before sending it to ground. However, after an indelible act of acrobatics, Mogg had somehow managed to plant the ball before landing over the touch in-goal line, his entire body out.

Israel Folau - Queensland, Game 3, 2008

Melbourne winger Israel Folau had a magnificent first season with Queensland in 2008, scoring in each match of the 2-1 series victory. Folau's best was unquestionably his flying effort in the Stadium Australia decider. Following a Johnathan Thurston bomb to the corner, Folau climbed above his opposite Anthony Quinn, his knees reaching Quinn's head, to pull down the ball before grounding it, upside down, with one hand.
 

Big Pete

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Thanks for sharing these SF.

Are these lists from the 'list' book that was released not that long ago? I had a look at it in Dymocks last time I was in town, looked like a neat Christmas gift suggestion.

Kind of feel like these lists were chosen off the top of their heads, which is fine and it probably speaks to how 'great' they are but when I think of great Origin games, Game 1 04 doesn't come to mind. Heck, it wasn't even the best match of it's own series - Game 2 04 was.

Just off the top of my head, games I'd have above it...

Game 1 2014
Game 3 2010
Game 3 2007
Game 1 2006
Game 1 2005
Game 1 2003
1981

etc.

If anything this thread reminds me I need to go back and watch through my Origin set. I got up to 1982 Game 2 when things really ramped up.
 

Super Freak

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Yeah, it's from The Book of NRL Lists. I bought a copy today, and it's a good book. It's a good read. It covers just about everything.

I didn't agree with the 2004 game. I thought the games you mentioned were better than them. Even the 1st game of 95.
 
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Broncoman

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I am extremely jealous of you SF I need to get this book it seems like an absolute beauty. Surprised Game 1 2005 isn't mentioned that was one of the most epic games you'll ever see.
 

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