1983 State of Origin series

The 1983 State of Origin series was the second time the annual three-game series between the New South Wales and Queensland rugby league teams was played entirely under "state of origin" selection rules.

1983 State of Origin series
Won byQueensland colours.svg Queensland (2nd title)
Series margin2-1
Points scored117
Attendance77,116 (ave. 25,705 per match)
Top points scorer(s)Queensland colours.svg Mal Meninga (30)
Top try scorer(s)New South Wales colours.svg Chris Anderson (3)

After the Australian team had swept all before them in 1982, including sweeping New Zealand in the mid-season tests, before embarking on the highly successful 1982 Kangaroo tour where they became the first touring side to go through undefeated, winning all three Ashes tests against Great Britain and the two tests against France, the 1983 State of Origin series was billed as something of an unofficial World Championship. The winning state would have bragging rights over who had the best representative team in the world outside of the test team.

Game IEdit

Tuesday, 7 June 1983[1]
  Queensland 24–12   New South Wales
(8 - 2 t) Wally Lewis
(4 - 1 t) Mark Murray
(12 - 6 g) Mal Meninga
(Report) Phil Sigsworth (4 - 2 g)
Eric Grothe, Sr. (4 - 1 t)
Steve Ella (4 - 1 t)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 29,412
Referee: Barry Gomersall[2]
Man of the Match: Wally Lewis

Game I of 1983 was refereed by Barry Gomersall, his second Origin fixture following Game II, 1982. Penrith's Darryl Brohman was making his Origin debut and with his ball skills and strong kicking game had been considered a strong possibility to force his way into the Australian side due to play New Zealand a few days later. Early in the first half Brohman's jaw was broken by a sickening elbow from Blues' second-rower Les Boyd which sidelined him for the rest of the season.[3] Gomersall awarded a penalty for the high shot, but allowed Boyd to stay on the field.

Boyd was later cited by the judiciary and received a twelve-month suspension[4] - the first of two massive barrings that eventually saw him relocate his career to England. It was to be Boyd's last representative appearance after 17 Tests and two Kangaroo Tours. Brohman meanwhile spent three months on the sideline nursing the injury and never represented Australia.

On the scoreboard Wally Lewis took control of the match. He scored twice in the first half and with Mal Meninga landing the conversions and potting three penalty goals, the Maroons lead 18-0 after 30 minutes and were able to ward off a spirited New South Wales comeback.

Game IIEdit

For Game II of the series, every member of the Blues' backline came from the defending premiers, the Parramatta Eels, with the exception of Eastern Suburbs fullback Marty Gurr. Players were required to represent their clubs in the season rounds between Origin clashes and a number of New South Wales players from Game I were injured in that weekend's round and unavailable for Game II. The Eels backline consisted of Neil Hunt and Eric Grothe (wings), Mick Cronin and Steve Ella (centres), Brett Kenny (five-eighth) and Peter Sterling (halfback). The club also provided lock forward Ray Price and replacement forward Stan Jurd giving them eight of the Blues' 15 players, the highest ever single club representation for NSW in Origin history.

Tuesday, 21 June 1983[5]
  New South Wales 10–6   Queensland
(2 - 1 g) Mick Cronin
(4 - 1 t) Neil Hunt
(4 - 1 t) Steve Ella
(Report) Mal Meninga (6 - 1t,1g)
SCG, Sydney
Attendance: 21,620
Referee: John Gocher[6]
Man of the Match: Peter Sterling

The match became a battle of attrition on a muddy SCG and the Blues kept the series alive with a 10-6 victory in which the Parramatta connection scored all the points - tries to Hunt and Ella, converted by Cronin. For Queensland Mal Meninga scored and converted a try. Queensland had a chance to take the lead when captain Wally Lewis crossed next to the posts midway through the second half, but referee John Gocher ruled obstruction against Gene Miles and disallowed the try.

Kangaroo tour test halfback Peter Sterling continued his ongoing selection battle with Canterbury-Bankstown half Steve Mortimer and fully repaid the selectors' confidence masterfully orchestrating the Blues' play and winning the first of his four Origin man-of-the-match awards. When Mortimer did come on in the second half it was actually on the wing replacing an injured Eric Grothe, though it did not take him long to get involved in the game as an extra half for the Blues.

Game IIIEdit

Tuesday, 28 June 1983[7]
  Queensland 43–22   New South Wales
(4 - 1 t) Gene Miles
(4 - 1 t) Steve Stacey
(4 - 1 t) Bryan Neibling
(4 - 1 t) Dave Brown
(12 - 6 g) Mal Meninga
(4 - 1 t) Greg Conescu
(2 - 1 g) Colin Scott
(1 - 1 fg) Wally Lewis
(8 - 2 t) Mitch Brennan
(Report) Mick Cronin (6 - 3 g)
Chris Anderson (12 - 3 t)
Steve Mortimer (4 - 1 t)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 26,084
Referee: Robin Whitfield[8]
Man of the Match: Wally Lewis

The series decider at Lang Park was billed as "the clash of the decade" but Lewis was brilliant and the game was never a contest. Queensland led 21-0 at half-time[9] and 33-0 before the Blues scored four late consolation tries.

The 43-22 Maroons victory was the biggest since 1955[10] and set the standing record for the most points scored by Queensland in an Origin match and also featured another record - the first time three tries were scored by a single player in an Origin match (by Blues' winger Chris Anderson). Another record was set a week later when Queensland had nine players selected in the Australian side to meet the Kiwis.

Peter Sterling missed the deciding game due to injury and with Steve Mortimer nipping at his heels it proved an expensive absence enabling Mortimer to go on to retain the New South Wales position, win back his Australian jumper and keep Sterling at bay in their representative rivalry for the next two years.


New South Wales BluesEdit

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback   Greg Brentnall   Marty Gurr
Wing   Chris Anderson   Neil Hunt
Centre   Phil Sigsworth   Mick Cronin
Centre   Brett Kenny   Steve Ella
Wing   Eric Grothe, Sr.   Chris Anderson
Five-eighth   Alan Thompson   Brett Kenny
Halfback   Peter Sterling   Steve Mortimer
Prop   Geoff Gerard   Geoff Bugden
Hooker   Max Krilich (c)   Ray Brown   Max Krilich (c)
Prop   Geoff Bugden   Lindsay Johnston
Second row   Les Boyd   Gavin Miller   Stan Jurd
Second row   Wayne Pearce   Paul Field
Lock   Ray Price   Ray Price (c)   Gavin Miller
Interchange   Steve Ella   Steve Mortimer   Kevin Hastings
Interchange   Ray Brown   Stan Jurd   Ray Brown
Coach   Ted Glossop

Queensland MaroonsEdit

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback   Colin Scott
Wing   John Ribot   Terry Butler   Steve Stacey
Centre   Mal Meninga
Centre   Gene Miles
Wing   Steve Stacey   Chris Close   Mitch Brennan
Five-eighth   Wally Lewis (c)
Halfback   Mark Murray
Prop   Brad Tessmann
Hooker   Greg Conescu
Prop   Darryl Brohman   Dave Brown
Second row   Bryan Niebling
Second row   Paul Vautin   Wally Fullerton Smith
Lock   Wally Fullerton Smith   Paul Vautin
Interchange   Brett French   Bruce Astill
Interchange   Dave Brown   Ross Henrick   Gavin Jones
Coach   Arthur Beetson

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 1983 State of Origin game 1 Archived 4 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine at nrlstats.com
  2. ^ State Of Origin - Game 1, 1983 Archived 1 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine at stats.rleague.com
  3. ^ Gallaway, Jack (2003). Origin: Rugby league's greatest contest 1980 - 2002. University of Queensland Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7022-3383-8.
  4. ^ Steve Ricketts; Barry Dick; Paul Malone (23 May 2012). "The 30 greatest controversies in 30 years of State of Origin series". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  5. ^ 1983 State of Origin game 2 Archived 4 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine at nrlstats.com
  6. ^ State Of Origin - Game 2, 1983 Archived 23 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine at stats.rleague.com
  7. ^ 1983 State of Origin game 3 Archived 4 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine at nrlstats.com
  8. ^ State Of Origin - Game 3, 1983 Archived 19 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine at stats.rleague.com
  9. ^ Barrow, Tim (6 July 2011). "State of Origin: The deciders". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  10. ^ foxsports.com.au (1 July 2008). "Classic State of Origin IIIs". Fox Sports. Australia: Premier Media Group. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  • Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney

External linksEdit