|Governing body||New South Wales Rugby League|
|Head coach||Brad Fittler|
|Most caps||Wally Prigg (34)|
|Top try-scorer||Ken Irvine (30)|
|Top point-scorer||Mick Cronin (183)|
|Home stadium||ANZ Stadium (84,000)|
(Royal Agricultural Society Ground, Sydney; 1907)
|First State of Origin game|
(Lang Park, Brisbane; 8 July 1980)
(Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney; 4 June 1957)
(Suncorp Stadium; 8 July 2015)
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 against neighbouring team, the Queensland rugby league team. This annual event is a series of three games competing for the State of Origin shield. As of 2018, the team is coached by Brad Fittler and captained by Boyd Cordner.
New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.
Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players. Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.
Sky blue is the name of a colour that resembles the colour of the unclouded sky at noon (azure) reflecting off a metallic surface. The entry for "sky-blue" in Murray's New English Dictionary (1919) reports a first sighting of the term in the article on "silver" in Ephraim Chambers's Cyclopaedia of 1728. However, many writers had used the term "sky blue" to name a colour before Chambers. For example, we find "sky blue" in A Collection of Voyages and Travels, vol. 2, p. 322, where John Nieuhoff describes certain flowers: "they are of a lovely sky blue colour, and yellow in the middle". The sense of this colour may have been first used in 1585 in a book by Nicolas de Nicolay where he stated "the tulbant of the merchant must be skie coloured".
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 Stadium Australia, New South Wales' largest stadium, since it was built in 1999.
Stadium Australia, commercially known as ANZ Stadium and formerly as Telstra Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium located in the Sydney Olympic Park, in Sydney, Australia. The stadium, which in Australia is sometimes referred to as Sydney Olympic Stadium, Homebush Stadium or simply the Olympic Stadium, was completed in March 1999 at a cost of A$690 million to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. The Stadium was leased by a private company the Stadium Australia Group until the Stadium was sold back to the NSW Government on 1 June 2016 after NSW Premier Michael Baird announced the Stadium was to be redeveloped as a world-class rectangular stadium. The Stadium is owned by Venues NSW on behalf of the NSW Government. The nine-member Venues NSW Board is chaired by Christine McLoughlin.
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:
The New Zealand national rugby league team has represented New Zealand in rugby league since 1907. Administered by the New Zealand Rugby League, they are commonly known as the Kiwis, after the native bird of that name. The team's colour's are majority black with white and the players perform a haka before every match they play as a challenge to their opponents. The New Zealand Kiwis are currently third in the RLIF World Rankings. Since the 1980s, most New Zealand representatives have been based overseas, in the professional National Rugby League and Super League competitions. Before that players were selected entirely from clubs in domestic New Zealand leagues.
The 1907–1908 New Zealand rugby tour of Australia and Great Britain was made by a group of New Zealand rugby footballers who played matches in Australia, Ceylon, England and Wales between 1907 and 1908. Most of the matches were played under the rules of the Northern Union, a sport that is today known as rugby league. As such, the team were the immediate predecessors of the New Zealand national rugby league team. The tour had a large role in establishing rugby league in both Australia and New Zealand, and also gave birth to international rugby league. The tour party has come to be known as the professional All Blacks or All Golds, although at the time they were commonly referred to as the All Blacks—a named popularised by the New Zealand rugby union team that toured the Northern Hemisphere in 1905.
Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.
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
Johnno Stuntz (1884–1917) was an Australian pioneer rugby league footballer and soldier who served in World War I and died on the Western Front. A national and state representative winger, his club career was played with Eastern Suburbs, Western Suburbs and South Sydney in Australia, as well as one season with English club, Warrington Wolves. He played for New South Wales in the very first rugby match run by the newly created 'New South Wales Rugby Football League' which had just split away from the established New South Wales Rugby Football Union.
Edward "Ed" Fry (1879–1968) was an Australian rugby league and rugby union footballer. He was one of the founding players of rugby league in Australia at the time of the rebel code's breakaway from rugby union. He played for New South Wales in the very first rugby match run by the newly created 'New South Wales Rugby Football League' which had just split away from the established New South Wales Rugby Football Union.
Herbert Henry "Dally" Messenger was one of Australasia's first professional rugby footballers, recognised as one of the greatest-ever players in either code. Messenger, or 'The Master' as he was dubbed, represented New Zealand in two rugby union tests and seven rugby league tests. He played for New South Wales in the very first match run by the newly created 'New South Wales Rugby Football League' which had just split away from the established New South Wales Rugby Football Union.
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 rugby league football, the Laws of the Game are the rules governing how the sport is played. The Laws are the responsibility of the Rugby League International Federation, and cover the play, officiating, equipment and procedures of the game.
The Queensland rugby league team represents the Australian state of Queensland in rugby league football. Nicknamed the "Maroons", after the colour of their jersey, the team plays three times a year against arch-rivals New South Wales in the State of Origin series. Coached by Kevin Walters and captained by Daly Cherry-Evans, the team is administered by the Queensland Rugby League and plays all of its home matches at Brisbane's Lang Park.
The 1908 Interstate rugby league series was the first series of matches between the then newly formed New South Wales and Queensland rugby league football teams. In what was rugby league in Australia's first year, three matches were played in July and all were won by New South Wales. These matches began the tradition of annual series between New South Wales and Queensland that would go on to form the basis of the State of Origin series.
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.
The 1910 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand was the first international tour of the Great Britain national rugby league team, "The Lions". They played the second ever Ashes series against Australia, and first as visiting team, before travelling to Auckland to take on New Zealand. The tour was a huge promotional and financial success for what was then known as the "Northern Union" game and helped set the pattern for regular, alternating test match series between Britain and Australia. It is regarded as one of the most important events in the history of rugby league.
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. This year 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.
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.
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 victory 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 it's 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.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.
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.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Major Sponsor||Minor Sponsor||Shorts Sponsor|
|1980-1990||Classic Sportswear||No major sponsor*||No minor sponsor||No shorts sponsor|
|1991-1996||Classic Sportswear||Tooheys Blue||Tooheys Blue||Tooheys Blue|
|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|
* HFC Finance sponsored the NSW Orign 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".
|Position||Game 1||Game 2|
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:
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.
|Dally Messenger||Automatic Selection|
|Clive Churchill||Automatic Selection|
|Bob Fulton||Automatic Selection|
|Reg Gasnier||Automatic Selection|
|Johnny Raper||Automatic Selection|
|Graeme Langlands||Automatic Selection|
|Arthur Beetson||Automatic Selection|
|Andrew Johns||Automatic Selection|
As part of the 25-year celebrations in 2005, New South Wales named 25 legends for each year before that.
|Player||Occasions||Game(s) as Captain|
|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||Game 4 1987|
|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|
|Andrew Johns||6||2002, 2003|
|Kurt Gidley||5||2009, Game 1 & 2 2010|
|Trent Barrett||1||Game 3 2010|
|Paul Gallen||16||2011, 2012, Game 1 & 2 2013, 2014-2016|
|Robbie Farah||2||Game 3 2013, Game 1 2015|
|Boyd Cordner||6||2017, 2018|
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 and Immortal Brad Fittler is the coach for the 2018 blues team and he has chosen 11 players to debut in game 1 of the 2018 series.
|Harry Bath||1962, 1968–1972||11||10||91%|
|Ted Glossop||1980–1981, 1983||9||5||55%|
|Frank Stanton||1978–1979, 1982, 1984||11||7||64%|
|Phil Gould||1992–1996; 2002–2004||24||14||58%|
|Ricky Stuart||2005; 2011–2012||9||4||44%|
As of 2018 the current New South Wales State of Origin side's selection panel consists of Danny Buderus, Andrew Johns and Greg Alexander.
The New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) is the governing body of rugby league in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory and is a member of the Australian Rugby League Commission. It was formed in Sydney on 8 August 1907 and was known as the New South Wales Rugby Football League (NSWRFL) until 1984. From 1908 to 1994, the NSWRL ran Sydney's, then New South Wales', and eventually Australia's top-level rugby league club competition from their headquarters on Phillip Street, Sydney. The organisation is responsible for administering the New South Wales rugby league team.
Malcolm Norman Meninga is the head coach of the Australian national team and an Australian former rugby league footballer. Meninga is widely regarded as one of the finest players in the game's history. He enjoyed a long career in both Australia and England, playing mainly as a goal-kicking centre, but also on the wing. After retiring, Meninga has enjoyed success as a coach, and is currently the head coach of Australia.
Laurie William Daley AM is an Australian professional rugby league football coach and a former player. He represented Australia on 26 occasions and has since been named as one of the nation's finest of the 20th century. Daley played primarily as a Centre and then Five-eighth for the Canberra Raiders during their most successful period in the 1990s.
The State of Origin series is an annual best-of-three rugby league matches between two Australian state representative sides, the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons.
Bradley Scott 'Freddy' Fittler is the head coach of the New South Wales State of Origin team and at international level he coaches Lebanon. He also works as a commentator and as a television presenter. He is Australian rugby league coach who has previously coached the NSW City side and the Sydney Roosters in the NRL. He is a former professional player who was named among the finest rugby league footballers of the first century of rugby league in Australia.
Paul "Fatty" Vautin is an Australian football commentator and formerly a professional rugby league footballer, captain and coach. He has provided commentary for the Nine Network's coverage of rugby league since joining the network in 1992 and has also hosted The Footy Show since its beginnings in 1994 opposite co-host Peter Sterling, until 2017. An Australian Kangaroos test and Queensland State of Origin representative lock or second-row forward, Vautin played club football in Brisbane with Wests, before moving to Sydney in 1979 to play with Manly-Warringah, whom he would captain to the 1987 NSWRL premiership. He also played for Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, and in England for St Helens.
State of Origin results and statistics have been accumulating since the 1980 State of Origin game. Every game played under State of Origin selection rules, including the additional 1987 exhibition match and the matches played between New South Wales and Queensland for the Super League Tri-series are detailed below unless stated otherwise.
Bradley Clyde is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 1980s, 90s and 2000s who, at the peak of his playing career was widely acknowledged as the best lock forward in the game. He represented both New South Wales, and played for the Australian national side, and played his club football in Australia for the Canberra Raiders and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, and in England for Leeds Rhinos.
Chris Johns is an Australian former rugby league footballer of the 1980s and 1990s. He played in the centres, achieving representative honors for Australia and New South Wales. His club football career was spent with the St. George Dragons and Brisbane Broncos, as well as two spells in England, first with Castleford in 1986-87 and then Barrow in 1989-90. After retiring from the playing field, Johns worked in the administration of the Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm clubs.
Joshua Morris is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who plays as a centre for the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks in the NRL. He is a New South Wales State of Origin representative backline player.
The 2005 State of Origin series saw the 24th time that the annual three-game series between the Queensland and New South Wales representative rugby league football teams was contested entirely under 'state of origin' selection rules. The three matches drew a total attendance of 187,309 and New South Wales won the series 2-1, their third consecutive series victory.
Wade Graham is a professional rugby league footballer who plays as a second-row, five-eighth and lock for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the NRL. Graham previously played for the Penrith Panthers between 2008 and 2010. Graham has represented both Australia and Portugal, and is a New South Wales State of Origin, City Origin and Indigenous All Stars representative.
Rugby league has the highest spectator numbers of the various codes of football in New South Wales. It began in Australia in 1907, when the New South Wales Rugby League was formed as a professional competition, following the rules of the Northern Rugby Football Union in England. Since then the state has been one of the major centres of the code; the headquarters of the Australian Rugby League are in New South Wales' largest city, Sydney. The premier state-level league is the New South Wales Cup, involving reserve teams from NSW and Canberra based NRL clubs as well as the first teams from other clubs.
Joshua Dugan is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who plays as a fullback and centre for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the NRL. An Australian Test, New South Wales State of Origin, Country Origin, Prime Minister's XIII and NRL All Stars representative, he previously played for the Canberra Raiders and the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The National Rugby League State Championship is a rugby league game contested between the winners of the New South Wales Cup and the Queensland Cup and is organised by the NRL. It was introduced for the 2014 NRL season and was played immediately before the 2014 NRL Grand Final at Stadium Australia.
Nathan Cleary is a professional Australian rugby league footballer who plays as a halfback for the Penrith Panthers in the NRL. A New South Wales State of Origin and City Origin representative, Cleary is the son of Penrith Panthers coach and former rugby league footballer Ivan Cleary.
Isabelle Kelly is an Australian international rugby league footballer who plays for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL Women's Premiership.
The New South Wales Under-20's rugby league team, also known as New South Wales Under-20s or New South Wales U20, represents New South Wales in the sport of rugby league at an under-20 age level. Since 2012, the team has played an annual fixture against the Queensland Under-20s team for the Darren Lockyer Shield. The team features players selected from the National Rugby League (NRL), Holden Cup, Jersey Flegg Cup and Intrust Super Premiership competitions. They are administered by the New South Wales Rugby League.
The 2019 State of Origin series will be the 38th annual best-of-three series between the Queensland and New South Wales rugby league teams. Before this series, Queensland had won 21 times, NSW 14 times, with two series drawn. NSW has never won more than 3 series in a row.