Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

With the National Gridiron League franchises to consist of 80% international players, and most of these living in, or being a product of the American Football system, it seems only fair to provide a taste of one of Australia’s greatest sporting events. The Rugby League State of Origin series.

What is the State of Origin?

The State of Origin is Rugby League’s greatest contest of the year. Viewed as a more brutal, faster and tougher competition than the season’s Grand Final and international fixtures, the three game series pits the two Rugby League heartland states of New South Wales and Queensland against each others.

Often promoted as “State vs State, mate vs mate”, it the highest level of Rugby League played in the world.

Players are selected based on the state they played their first senior football in rather than their birth, which is where the “mate vs mate” moniker was born, as quite often club teammates will be out to kill each other.

To make it clear, this is no “Pro Bowl” exhibition type game, instead these games are known for their big hits, frenetic pace and heroic performances.

When is it? How do I watch?

Game 2 of the three game series is on Wednesday night the 22nd of June Australian time (early morning Wednesday in most parts of America). There is a three-week break between each of the three games to allow players to recover.

Thanks to Australian actor Russel Crowe a few years ago, the State of Origin series was negotiated to be shown in America on Fox Sports. According to the latest broadcasting guide Game 2 of the series will be broadcast from 6:00 AM ET on Fox Sports 2 (FS2) but check your local guides for more details.

Game 2 of the series will be broadcast from 6:00 AM ET on Fox Sports 2 (FS2)

If you are outside of America, don’t like waking before midday or don’t own a TiVo, you can check out the international broadcasting guide here.

I’m not from your parts, who do I support?

Let’s make this easy.

If you are a player for the Wollongong Devils, Sydney Express, Newcastle Miners or Central Coast Cyclones, these teams all reside in New South Wales and so should follow “the Blues”, or “the cockroaches” and brag how Jarryd Hayne, ex-NFL “superstar” learned everything he showed in 49ers colours from his time as a “Blue”.

Photo by NSW Rugby League
Photo by NSW Rugby League

If you are playing for the Logan Wolverines, Brisbane Outlaws, North Coast Heat or Gold Coast Kings, then you are on your way to Queensland and so should follow “the Maroons” or “the cane toads” if you value your life in any way, shape or form.

If you are neither player nor supporter of the above teams, then you can choose the team of your choice. But a warning. Choose once, and never … ever … switch.

But what are the rules?

While the set of rules in Rugby League pale in comparison to those of American Football, there are still plenty to go through. To explain them all would require several articles, so instead, here is a good video explaining them for you.

Who is winning?

Queensland, thanks to winning nine of the last ten series are leading the series count 19-14. The last win by NSW was Jarryd Hayne’s final year before heading to the San Francisco 49ers.

Here are some random stats.

  • Series Wins QLD: 19
  • Series Wins NSW: 14
  • Series Drawn: 2
  • Largest crowd: 91,513 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (Match 2, 2015)
  • Most consecutive series wins: 8, Queensland (match 2, 1987 – match 3, 1989)
  • New South Wales match wins: 46
  • Queensland match wins: 54
  • Drawn matches: 2
  • Largest winning margin. 46, Queensland d. New South Wales 52-6 (Match 3, 2015)

Share it with your “mates”

So there you have it, a crash course in arguably Australia’s greatest domestic rivalry, the State of Origin series in Rugby League.

Know someone who is heading down under? Send them this article as if their life depends on it, because at this time of year, in some parts it does.

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