New South Wales rugby league team

The New South Wales rugby league team has represented the Australian state of New South Wales in rugby league football since the sport's beginnings there in 1907. Also known as the Blues due to their sky blue jerseys, the team competes in the annual State of Origin series. This annual event is a series of three games competing for the State of Origin shield. As of 2022, the team is coached by Brad Fittler and captained by James Tedesco.

New South Wales
Badge of New South Wales team
Team information
NicknamesThe Blues
Governing bodyNew South Wales Rugby League
Head coachBrad Fittler
CaptainJames Tedesco
Most capsWally Prigg (34)
Top try-scorerKen Irvine (30)
Top point-scorerMick Cronin (183)
Home stadiumStadium Australia (84,000)
First colours
Second colours
Team results
First game
New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales 8–12 New Zealand 
(Royal Agricultural Society Ground, Sydney; 1907)
First State of Origin game
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 20–10 New South Wales New South Wales colours.svg
(Lang Park, Brisbane; 8 July 1980)
Biggest win
New South Wales colours.svg New South Wales 69–5 Queensland Queensland colours.svg
(Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney; 4 June 1957)
Biggest defeat
Queensland colours.svg Queensland 52–6 New South Wales New South Wales colours.svg
(Suncorp Stadium; 8 July 2015)

Prior to 1980 when the "state-of-origin" selection criteria were introduced, the New South Wales team, in addition to playing annually against Queensland, played matches against foreign touring sides and occasionally toured overseas themselves. They have played all their home matches at ANZ stadium in Sydney, New South Wales in the largest stadium in the state, since it was built in 1999 for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The New South Wales team retained the 2019 Holden State of Origin Shield after beating Queensland 2-1 after being down 1–0, becoming the first NSW team to win a decider since the 2005 side, and were victorious again in the 2021 series.


Pre-Origin era (1907–1980)Edit

The inaugural 'All Blues' squad of 1907.
The first New South Wales team to go to Queensland in 1910.

The New South Wales rugby league team pre-dates the Australian national team, playing their inaugural match against a rebel New Zealand rugby team on the 1907–08 New Zealand rugby tour of Australia and Great Britain under existing rugby union rules. That inaugural "All Blues" side, the first football team assembled by the newly formed NSWRFL was:

Backs: Charles Hedley · Johnno Stuntz · Ed Fry · Dally Messenger · Frank Cheadle · Albert Rosenfeld · Lou D'Alpuget
Forwards: Harry Hamill · Arthur Hennessy · Bob Mable · Peter Moir · Sid Pearce · Billy Cann · Robert Graves · Herb Brackenreg

Two further matches were played against New Zealand before their tour took them to the Northern Hemisphere, with Jim Devereaux also featuring for the Blues. The visiting All Golds won all three games. However, on the return leg of their tour, almost a year later, with the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership established, the Blues won the first two matches they ever played under 13-a-side rules against New Zealand. Later in 1908 the Queensland team, whose first taste of rugby league football was also against the visiting Kiwis, traveled to Sydney for the first series of games between the two states. New South Wales won all three matches, setting a precedent for interstate dominance that would continue throughout most of the 20th century.

In 1910 New South Wales defeated the touring England team in two of their three games. After that they became the first Blues side to travel to Queensland for the annual interstate series.

In 1912 the New South Wales team first toured New Zealand. They also visited New Zealand in 1913. During the 1913 New Zealand rugby league tour of Australia New South Wales played four matches against the Kiwis, winning three of them.

The New South Wales team lost its first game against Queensland in 1922. In 2019 the Blues also toured New Zealand.

During the 1951 French rugby league tour of Australia and New Zealand New South Wales played one match against the successful France national rugby league team, a 14-all draw.

The New South Wales team hosted 2 matches of the 1953 American All Stars tour of Australia and New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground, winning 62-41 and 27–18.

In a 1954 tour match between Great Britain and New South Wales the referee left the field in disgust at the players' persistent fighting after 56 minutes so the match was abandoned.[1]

State of Origin era (1980 – present)Edit

New South Wales' dominance over Queensland came to an end with the introduction of 'state of origin' selection rules in the early 1980s.

During the Super League war, in 1997 New South Wales was represented by two teams: one made up of players from clubs that remained loyal to the Australian Rugby League, which competed in the 1997 State of Origin series; another made up of players from clubs that joined the rebel Super League which competed in the one-off Super League Tri-series.

Ricky Stuart, who had previously coached New South Wales in 2005, was announced as the first full-time Blues coach in November 2010. Following the 2012 series, the Blues' seventh consecutive loss, Stuart resigned the role. Stuart took a role as the Parramatta Eels head coach in 2013, citing family reasons for his move. Although the Blues continued their losing streak during Stuart's tenure, he is credited with restoring passion and pride to the NSW jersey and closing the gap between the two states. He was replaced by former Canberra, NSW and Australia teammate Laurie Daley. Daley's appointment as NSW State of Origin coach was announced in August 2012 and effective from season 2013. Daley got job over candidates including Trent Barrett, Brad Fittler and Daniel Anderson. Daley coached the Blues to a series win in 2014, their first since 2005 and over his coaching rival and long time Canberra & Australian teammate Mal Meninga. Daley ended Meninga's and Queensland's run of eight series wins with victories in Game I and Game II of the 2014 series. In 2015, New South Wales suffered its biggest origin loss losing 52–6 against Queensland in the decider. In 2016, New South Wales lost the series 2–1 but managed to win the third and final dead rubber game. In 2017, New South Wales were widely tipped to win the series as Queensland had a number of key players injured. In Game 1, New South Wales beat Queensland in convincing fashion 28–4 and in Game 2 were leading the maroons 16–6 at halftime before Queensland won the game in the final two minutes to win 18–16. In Game 3, New South Wales lost the series losing 22–6 in Brisbane. In August 2017, Daley was terminated as coach of New South Wales.[2]

In 2018, Brad Fittler was appointed as the new coach and left out established players such as Aaron Woods, Josh Jackson, Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan. The Blues went on to win the series 2–1.[3] In 2019, the Blues were widely tipped to win the series owing to the retirement from representative football of Queensland Origin greats Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith. However, Queensland had an upset win 18–14 over the Blues in Game 1 forcing Fittler to make seven changes to the Blues starting line-up. Though he was roundly criticised for the move,[4] the Blues went on to win the series 2–1, easily defeating Queensland 38–6 in Game 2 in Optus Stadium in Perth Western Australia, the greatest winning margin of a Blues squad since Game 3, 2000.[5] Finally, in a thrilling Game 3 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, winger Blake Ferguson and fullback James Tedesco combined to score the winning try with just 32 seconds to go in the game to secure the series, off the back of play started from recalled halfback Mitchell Pearce.[6]

Colours and badgeEdit

The primary colour of New South Wales Blues is sky blue, which represents the state colour of New South Wales. The secondary colour is navy blue, with additional contrasting colour of white.

Shirt sponsors and manufacturersEdit

Period Kit manufacturer Major Sponsor Minor Sponsor Shorts Sponsor
1980-1983 Westmont No major sponsor No minor sponsor No shorts sponsor
1983-1990 Classic Sportswear No major sponsor* No minor sponsor No shorts sponsor
1991-1996 Classic Sportswear Tooheys Blue Tooheys Blue Tooheys Blue
1997 Canterbury Tooheys Tooheys Tooheys
1998-2004 Canterbury Wizard Home Loans Wizard Home Loans Wizard Home Loans
2005-2007 Canterbury Wizard Home Loans PlayStation 2 Wizard Home Loans
2008 Canterbury Wizard Home Loans nib Wizard Home Loans
2009-2010 Classic Sportswear Aussie Home Loans nib Aussie Home Loans
2011–2017 Classic Sportswear Victoria Bitter nib GIO
2018–2020 Canterbury Brydens Lawyers nib Tooheys
2021– Puma Brydens Lawyers nib Tooheys

* HFC Finance sponsored the NSW Origin team for the one-off exhibition game in Los Angeles in 1987


The official New South Wales rugby league team supporter group is known as "Blatchy's Blues".[7][8][9][10][11][12][13]


Current squadEdit

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts Club
Prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard (1993-07-27) 27 July 1993 (age 29) 3 0   Parramatta Eels
Halfback Nathan Cleary (1997-11-14) 14 November 1997 (age 25) 12 84   Penrith Panthers
Hooker Damien Cook (1991-06-23) 23 June 1991 (age 31) 13 8   South Sydney Rabbitohs
Centre Stephen Crichton (2000-09-22) 22 September 2000 (age 22) 1 0   Penrith Panthers
Second-row Tyson Frizell (1991-10-09) 9 October 1991 (age 31) 14 12   Newcastle Knights
Prop Payne Haas (1999-02-12) 12 February 1999 (age 23) 8 0   Brisbane Broncos
Halfback Nicho Hynes (1995-06-18) 18 June 1995 (age 27) 0 0   Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Hooker Apisai Koroisau (1992-11-07) 7 November 1992 (age 30) 2 4   Penrith Panthers
Five-eighth Jarome Luai (1997-01-16) 16 January 1997 (age 26) 4 4   Penrith Panthers
Second-row Liam Martin (1997-03-05) 5 March 1997 (age 25) 4 0   Penrith Panthers
Lock Ryan Matterson (1994-10-13) 13 October 1994 (age 28) 1 0   Parramatta Eels
Second-row Cameron Murray (1998-01-16) 16 January 1998 (age 25) 8 4   South Sydney Rabbitohs
Prop Junior Paulo (1993-11-20) 20 November 1993 (age 29) 7 0   Parramatta Eels
Prop Jacob Saifiti (1996-05-01) 1 May 1996 (age 26) 0 0   Newcastle Knights
Second-row Tariq Sims (1990-02-09) 9 February 1990 (age 32) 6 0   St George Illawarra Dragons
Centre Kotoni Staggs (1998-10-29) 29 October 1998 (age 24) 1 0   Brisbane Broncos
Wing Joseph Sua'ali'i (2003-08-01) 1 August 2003 (age 19) 0 0   Sydney Roosters
Fullback James Tedesco (c) (1993-01-08) 8 January 1993 (age 30) 17 28   Sydney Roosters
Wing Brian To'o (1998-08-18) 18 August 1998 (age 24) 4 8   Penrith Panthers
Wing Daniel Tupou (1991-06-17) 17 June 1991 (age 31) 8 8   Sydney Roosters
Centre Jack Wighton (1993-02-04) 4 February 1993 (age 29) 10 12   Canberra Raiders
Lock Isaah Yeo (1994-11-06) 6 November 1994 (age 28) 6 0   Penrith Panthers

Team of the Century (1908–2007)Edit

Before Game I of the 2008 State of Origin series, to celebrate the game's centenary that year, New South Wales named their team of the century:[14]

No. Position Player
  FB Clive Churchill
  WG Ken Irvine
  CE Reg Gasnier
  CE Graeme Langlands
  WG Dally Messenger
  FE Bob Fulton
  HB Andrew Johns
  PR Frank Burge
  HK Sandy Pearce
No. Position Player
  PR Glenn Lazarus
  SR Ron Coote
  SR Norm Provan
  LK Johnny Raper
  RE Wally Prigg
  RE Dave Brown
  RE Steve Rogers
  RE Roy Bull

Hall of FameEdit

Ahead of the 2017 State of Origin series, NSW named the inaugural inductees to the NSWRL Hall of Fame, joining automatic inductees Dally Messenger and the seven Immortals who represented NSW.[15]

Immortal Year Inducted Club/s
Dally Messenger Automatic Selection   Eastern Suburbs
Clive Churchill Automatic Selection   South Sydney
Bob Fulton Automatic Selection   Manly-Warringah
  Eastern Suburbs
Reg Gasnier Automatic Selection   St. George
Johnny Raper Automatic Selection   Newtown
  St. George
Graeme Langlands Automatic Selection   St. George
Arthur Beetson Automatic Selection   Balmain
  Eastern Suburbs
Andrew Johns Automatic Selection   Newcastle
Bradley Clyde 2017   Canberra
Ron Coote 2017   South Sydney
  Eastern Suburbs
Laurie Daley 2017   Canberra
Brad Fittler 2017   Penrith
  Sydney City
Bob McCarthy 2017   South Sydney
Norm Provan 2017   St. George
Keith Holman 2018   Western Suburbs
Ken Irvine 2018   North Sydney
Steve Rogers 2018   Cronulla-Sutherland
  St. George
Steve Mortimer 2019   Canterbury-Bankstown
Tommy Raudonikis 2019   Western Suburbs
Billy Smith 2021   St. George
Brett Kenny 2021   Parramatta
Glenn Lazarus 2021   Canberra

Origin GreatsEdit

As part of the 25-year celebrations in 2005, New South Wales named 25 legends for each year before that.[16]

No. Position Player
  FB Tim Brasher
  SR Noel Cleal
  LK Bradley Clyde
  FE Laurie Daley
  HK Benny Elias
  CE Andrew Ettingshausen
  FE Brad Fittler
  WG Eric Grothe Sr.
  PR Paul Harragon
  FB Garry Jack
  HB Andrew Johns
  FE Brett Kenny
No. Position Player
  PR Glenn Lazarus
  CE Paul McGregor
  HB Steve Mortimer
  WG Michael O'Connor
  LK Wayne Pearce
  LK Ray Price
  PR Steve Roach
  PR Ian Roberts
  SR Paul Sironen
  HB Peter Sterling
  HB Ricky Stuart
  HB Geoff Toovey
  WG Rod Wishart


Player Occasions Game(s) as Captain
Tommy Raudonikis 1 1980
Steve Rogers 1 1981
Max Krilich 5 1982, Games 1 & 3 1983
Ray Price 3 Game 2 1983, Games 1 & 2 1984
Steve Mortimer 3 Game 3 1984, Games 1 & 2 1985
Wayne Pearce 10 Game 3 1985, 1986–1988
Peter Sterling 1 1987 Exhibition Match
Gavin Miller 3 1989
Ben Elias 6 1990, 1991
Laurie Daley 10 1992, 1993, 1998, Game 3 1999
Brad Fittler 17 1994–1996, Games 1 & 2 1999, 2000, 2001
Geoff Toovey 3 1997
Andrew Johns 6 2002, 2003
Danny Buderus 15 2004–2008
Kurt Gidley 5 2009, Games 1 & 2 2010
Trent Barrett 1 Game 3 2010
Paul Gallen 16 2011, 2012, Games 1 & 2 2013, 2014, Games 2 & 3 2015, 2016
Robbie Farah 2 Game 3 2013, Game 1 2015
Boyd Cordner 10 2017–2019, Game 1 2020
James Tedesco 6 Games 2 & 3 2020, 2021-2022


New South Wales have had a total of thirteen different coaches at State of Origin level, eight of which have previously played for the Blues. The list also includes the known coaches from the pre-Origin era and only counts games against Queensland. Games against touring teams from New Zealand, Great Britain and France are not included. Ted Glossop, Frank Stanton and Terry Fearnley are the only coaches to have coached NSW in both State of Residence and State of Origin formats.

NSWRL Hall of Fame inductee Brad Fittler is the incumbent coach for the NSW Blues.[17] In his first match in charge, he chose 11 players to debut.[18]

Coach Era Games Wins Success %
Dick Dunn 1961 4 2 50%
Harry Bath 1962, 1968–1972 11 10 91%
Eddie Burns 1963–1964 2 2 100%
Ian Walsh 1965 1 1 100%
Paul Quinn 1965 1 1 100%
Noel Kelly 1966 3 3 100%
Reg Gasnier 1967 2 1 50%
Ron Saddler 1967 1 1 100%
Graeme Langlands 1973–1976 12 9 75%
Ted Glossop 1980–1981, 1983 9 5 55%
Frank Stanton 1978–1979, 1982, 1984 11 7 64%
Terry Fearnley 1985 5 4 80%
Ron Willey 1986–1987 7 5 71%
John Peard 1988 3 0 0%
Jack Gibson 1989–1990 6 2 33%
Tim Sheens 1991 3 1 33%
Phil Gould 1992–1996; 2002–2004 24 14 58%
Tommy Raudonikis 1997–1998 6 3 50%
Wayne Pearce 1999–2001 9 5 56%
Ricky Stuart 2005; 2011–2012 9 4 44%
Graham Murray 2006–2007 6 2 33%
Craig Bellamy 2008–2010 9 2 22%
Laurie Daley 2013–2017 15 6 40%
Brad Fittler 2018- 11 7 64%


As of 2018 the current New South Wales State of Origin side's selection panel consists of Danny Buderus, Andrew Johns and Greg Alexander.


New South Wales Residents rugby league teamEdit

New South Wales Women's rugby league teamEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". Independent, The. Archived from the original on 14 November 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  2. ^ "Five burning questions after Laurie Daley sacking: What NSW coach's axing means for Blues favourites". 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ "State of Origin 2018: New South Wales clinch just second series in 13 years". 24 June 2018.
  4. ^[bare URL]
  5. ^ "Blues crush Maroons in Perth to keep Origin series alive". 23 June 2019.
  6. ^ "State of Origin game 3 2019: NSW Blues vs Maroons, live scores, stream". 10 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Blatchys Blues FAQs". 5 October 2017. Archived from the original on 17 November 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Blatchys Blues". Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  9. ^[bare URL]
  10. ^ "Blatchy's Blues". Blatchy's Blues. Archived from the original on 19 February 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  11. ^[bare URL]
  12. ^ "Blatchys Blues to take NSW to the World". 22 September 2017. Archived from the original on 7 June 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Blatchy's Blues exclusive bar at Origin II". 21 September 2017. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  14. ^ ARL (2008). "Australian Rugby Football League 2008 Annual Report" (PDF). Australian Rugby Football League Limited. p. 30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  15. ^ "NSWRL Announces Hall of Fame Inductees". 5 October 2017. Archived from the original on 26 September 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  16. ^ "League names Origin greats". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 15 June 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  17. ^ "Fittler 'grateful' for new Blues deal". Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  18. ^ Perry, Jodan (29 May 2018). "Brave new era? Blues put faith in fresh faces to break Maroons' Origin stranglehold". ABC Online. Retrieved 28 July 2018.

External linksEdit