A State of Origin Guide for Perth Locals

State of Origin will head back to Perth for the second time this weekend as the game tries to expand its reach with its showpiece event.

However, you could forgive the majority of West Australians for being a little bit confused over the sport when they are more used to the code that features 18 players per side and is on an oval.

Couple of #Origin bolters for game two in Perth next Sunday – Nic Naitanui and Luke Shuey have picked their sides for the Optus Stadium clash.

(Watched Nic Nat absolutely sizzle in a pass over a significant distance with relative ease). https://t.co/uKykFJmUEX

— Ben Smith (@BenSmith94) June 16, 2022

In the interests of providing a public service we’ve spoken to a few resident West Australians and come up with a bit of a Q&A to help them out come Sunday night.

What is State of Origin?

It’s a three game series of rugby league games where players allegedly represent the state in which they originate from.

Who plays in it?

Queensland and New South Wales, otherwise known as the Maroons and the Blues.

It makes it pretty easy to identify which team is which based on their jersey colours.

And how are they picked?

The best players from the respective NRL teams who are eligible for the appropriate state will get picked in the teams around 10 days before each game.

So every player grew up in and is from Queensland or New South Wales?

No, both teams will get a bit creative with who they select since it can be decided on place of birth or where they played their first senior rugby league.

In fact, Queensland has only ever had a team made up entirely of players born in Queensland seven times and New South Wales has only done it six times.

Not exactly a great record for a competition that has run for 42 years.

Guys like Greg Inglis grew up in New South Wales but because his senior career started with Brisbane Norths, he became a Maroons legend.

Former Blues halfback Peter Sterling was born Toowoomba but went on to represent New South Wales as well.

It even divides some family lines, Steve Rogers was born in Queensland but played for New South Wales, while his son Matt was born south of the Tweed but played for the Maroons in the Origin arena.

Then there’s the plethora of players who were selected despite growing up overseas and on occasion represented other countries in the international arena like New Zealanders Brad Thorn (Queensland) and James Tamou (New South Wales) or Fijians Lote Tuqiri (QLD) and Akila Uate (NSW), but were too good to pass up.

Isn’t that a bit confusing?

Yes, very.

And why are they playing in Perth?

While hosting rights used to be the exclusive domain of Brisbane and Sydney with the cities alternating each year which place hosted two games to the others one, we’re now seeing the third game get taken to a neutral site.

Wait, didn’t we have something like this a few years ago?

That’s right, in 2019 Perth hosted Game 2 of the series and the Blues routed Queensland 38-6.

Throw🔙 to the last time #Origin was played in Perth! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/N0LhBGETZB

— NRL (@NRL) June 20, 2022

Oh I remember that! And New South Wales are still a lot better right?

Not really, the Blues won that series two games to one before Queensland got bragging rights back in 2020.

2021 went the way of the Blues but Queensland took Game 1 in Sydney 16-10.

Does that mean that this one should be close then?

Yep, the expectation is that New South Wales should find a way to bounce back but they made a fair few changes to their team so it really could go either way.

If that’s the background on the rivalry, how does the actual game work?

Two 40 minute halves, each team gets up to six tackles to try and score a try but on the sixth tackle they will usually kick it away.

The field is 100m from goal line to goal line with an “in-goal” area of around 10 metres at each end where both teams will try to score in.

Each pass has to go backwards and defending teams can stop them with a tackle.

And what do you have to do to score?

The main way to score is a try, where the attacking player has to place the ball down in the “in-goal” area for four points.

Following that there is the conversion where they attempt to kick the ball through the posts in the middle of the try-line and the kick is taken in line with where the try was scored (think like someone taking a set shot at goal from a mark, but it’s kicked from a tee instead of a drop punt).

Sometimes when a team gets a penalty they might take a shot at goal for two points and on occasion a team will go for a one-point drop goal but that’s only really used late in the game when scores are close.

When they kick, do they get a point if it misses?

No, it has to go through the two uprights and over the crossbar, no points for going close.

Will I enjoy it?

Yes, get into the Origin spirit, pick a side and have some fun.

Just remember if you’re supporting Queensland, there is an opening to take over the state’s most famous catch cry.

Author: Paula Allen