A history of underdog Maroons Origin wins

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Queensland will enter Wednesday's State of Origin decider without star player Cameron Munster. But it's not the first time they will have to overcome adversity to win the series.


It was in the very first Origin game that the mystique of Queensland's underdog status began.

For years the best players had headed to Sydney for better pay cheques, ensuring Queensland were always the whipping boys in the old inter-state series.

Arthur Beetson came back from reserve grade, age 35, to lead a ragtag bunch of men who hailed from north of the Tweed to victory.

Beetson's legacy continued through a young Wally Lewis and Mal Meninga who became mainstays of the Queensland side when the series expanded to a three-game contest in 1982.


Decimated by the Super League war, Queensland coach Paul Vautin managed to coerce a team of "nobodies" into pulling off one of the most famous Origin wins over a star-studded NSW side.

The Blues outfit were lined with internationals and Queensland were forced to turn to the likes of Ben Ikin, 18, with just six games of first grade experience under his belt.

After a two-point win in game one, the Maroons were without Dale Shearer - their most experienced player - with Billy Moore's flying fists and cries of "QUEENSLANDER" inspiring Queensland to a 2-0 series lead.

Captain Trevor Gillmeister climbed out of his hospital bed after suffering an infection and led the Maroons to a 3-0 series win.


The Maroons were at crisis point when inspirational skipper Gorden Tallis and halfback Paul Green were unavailable for game three in Brisbane.

Their prospects of claiming a series victory were slim, particularly given how easily the Blues had dealt with them to square up the series in game two.

But Wayne Bennett hatched a plan, putting in a phone call to Allan Langer who was on the other side of the world playing for Warrington.

Langer landed back in Brisbane under a cloak of secrecy and was named to start in the No.7 jumper.

It was to prove an inspired move with Langer tearing the Blues defence apart in a 40-14 win.


The Maroons had not won a series since 2001 and looked to be in for another year of misery when they trailed by 10 points with as many minutes to go in Melbourne.

But Brent Tate scored off a Johnathan Thurston break, before Darren Lockyer intercepted a loose pass and sealed a 16-14 victory.

It was the beginning of Queensland's dynasty at Origin level, dominating the event for the next eight years.

* THE NO HOPERS (2020)

Unfairly labelled the worst Queensland team of all time by the NSW press, the Maroons went into the decider at Suncorp Stadium with a patched up outfit.

The Maroons were so down on troops that Corey Allan was the fullback, Brenko Lee was at centre with his cousin Edrick Lee on the wing.

But Bennett - in his fourth coming as Queensland coach - sprinkled some magic dust and the Maroons came out firing.

They went in at the break 12-6 to the good and after some second-half magic from Cameron Munster were able to hold onto their lead and secure an unlikely victory.

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