1990 State of Origin series

The 1990 State of Origin series saw the ninth time that the annual three-game series between New South Wales and Queensland representative rugby league football teams was contested entirely under "state of origin" selection rules. It was the first year that the Australian Rugby League took an Origin match to Melbourne to showcase the code in Victoria. New South Wales broke an eight-game losing streak in game I and took the series for the first time since 1986.

1990 State of Origin series
Won byNew South Wales colours.svg New South Wales (3rd title)
Series margin2 - 1
Points scored50
Attendance98,451 (ave. 32,817 per match)
Top points scorer(s)Queensland colours.svg Gary Belcher (8)
Top try scorer(s)New South Wales colours.svg Mark McGaw (2)


Game OneEdit

Wednesday, 9 May 1990
  New South Wales 8–0   Queensland
(4 - 1 t) Mark McGaw
(4 - 2 g) Michael O'Connor
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 41,235
Referee: David Manson
Man of the Match: Ben Elias

Game I at the Sydney Football Stadium was a typical Origin arm-wrestle and resulted in the lowest score in the series' 10-year history to that point. Queensland's Wally Lewis withdrew pre-match due to a hamstring tear (only the 2nd Origin match he had missed in the series' history), Maroon's hero Gene Miles had retired and Tony Currie, Michael Hancock and Kerrod Walters were all out with injuries.

New South Wales' captain Benny Elias played what was regarded as his finest representative performance[citation needed] with a copybook dummy-half display. Blues' centre Mark "Sparkles" McGaw scored the only try of the match. He outplayed his opposite, the Mal Meninga and pulled off a covering tackle on winger Alan McIndoe that was so comprehensive that both McIndoe's boots came flying from his feet. The win was the Blues' first since the post-series exhibition match in 1987.

Game TwoEdit

Wednesday, 30 May 1990
  New South Wales 12–6   Queensland
(4 - 1 t) Ricky Stuart
(4 - 1 t) Brad Mackay
(4 - 2 g) Rod Wishart
(Report) Les Kiss (4 - 1 t)
Mal Meninga (2 - 1 g)
Olympic Park, Melbourne
Attendance: 25,800[1]
Referee: Greg McCallum
Man of the Match: Ricky Stuart

The public relations exercise to showcase the game in Melbourne proved a success with a sell-out crowd of 25,800 cramming into Olympic Park. The game was highlighted by NSW halfback Ricky Stuart racing 70 metres to score, easily outpacing Qld winger Les Kiss who made no ground on the former Wallaby.

Queensland halfback Allan Langer's stealing of the ball from Blues replacement prop Glenn Lazarus[2] helped spell the end of three years of Queensland State of Origin dominance which had included two consecutive series clean sweeps from 1988. Langer's steal was a defining moment giving Rod Wishart the chance to put the Blues ahead 8-6. Shortly afterwards Brad Mackay swooped on an intercept and streaked away for the try that put the game out of reach for the Maroons.

Game ThreeEdit

Wednesday, 13 June 1990
  Queensland 14–10   New South Wales
(8 - 1 t, 2 g) Gary Belcher
(4 - 1 t) Steve Jackson
(2 - 1 g) Wally Lewis
(Report) Glenn Lazarus (4 - 1 t)
Mark McGaw (4 - 1 t)
Rod Wishart (2 - 1 g)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 31,416
Referee: David Manson
Man of the Match: Bob Lindner

In Game III the Blues led 10-4 after just 24 minutes and looked set for a series whitewash. Then the Maroons clawed back to 10-all early in the second half with their Origin "King" Wally Lewis landing a wide conversion after Gary Belcher had taken the earlier kicks. Canberra Raiders' forward Steve Jackson who the year before had scored a Grand Final try to give his club the premiership scored an almost identical try to give Queensland the game and a face-saving sole victory in the series.


New South WalesEdit

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback   Andrew Ettingshausen
Wing   Rod Wishart
Centre   Michael O'Connor   Brad Mackay   Michael O'Connor
Centre   Mark McGaw
Wing   Ricky Walford   Graham Lyons
Five-eighth   Laurie Daley   Des Hasler   Brad Mackay
Halfback   Ricky Stuart
Prop   Steve Roach   Glenn Lazarus
Hooker   Ben Elias (c)
Prop   Ian Roberts
Second Row   David Gillespie
Second Row   Bruce McGuire
Lock   Bradley Clyde
Replacement   Glenn Lazarus   Mark Sargent
Replacement   Paul Sironen
Replacement   Geoff Toovey   Andrew Farrar
Replacement   Graham Lyons   Brad Fittler   Greg Alexander
Coach   Jack Gibson


Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback   Gary Belcher
Wing   Alan McIndoe
Centre   Dale Shearer
Centre   Mal Meninga   Peter Jackson
Wing   Les Kiss   Willie Carne
Five-eighth   Michael Hagan   Wally Lewis (c)
Halfback   Allan Langer
Prop   Martin Bella
Hooker   Steve Walters   Kerrod Walters
Prop   Dan Stains   Sam Backo
Second Row   Paul Vautin (c)   Dan Stains   Trevor Gillmeister
Second Row   Wally Fullerton-Smith   Gary Coyne
Lock   Bob Lindner
Replacement   Mark Coyne   Trevor Gillmeister   Kevin Walters
Replacement   Kevin Walters   Andrew Gee   Michael Hagan
Replacement   Gary Coyne   Mark Coyne   Andrew Gee
Replacement   Trevor Gillmeister   Kevin Walters   Steve Jackson
Coach   Arthur Beetson

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ MacDonald, John (30 May 1990). "No more Blues for Benny's Boys". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  2. ^ 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.


  • Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney