State of Origin is considered the pinnacle or rugby league in Australia and is played between the two states where rugby league is the biggest - New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD). Each year 3 games are played with the state getting two home games alternating each year.
The NSW team is known as 'The Blues' while the QLD team is known as 'The Maroons' due to the jersey colors of each team. During the 1980's there were some popular advertisements for the game which featured a cockroach for NSW and a cane toad for QLD which led to the teams also being known as the cockroaches and the cane toads.
Modern day State of Origin was born in 1980. Many people dismissed the idea due to New South Wales dominance in rugby league as they didn't think Queensland would be able to compete, however Queensland surprised everyone to win 20 - 10 in the inaugural game. It was during this game where the origin mantra "state against state, mate against mate" was born.
The reason for this mantra came about towards the end of the match when Arthur Beetson who was playing for Queensland threw a left arm at his Parramatta club team-mate Mick Cronin who was playing for New South Wales. This showed people just how real the State of Origin idea was that your club team-mate friendship took a back seat during the game.
Currently Queensland has won 16 series to New South Wales 12, with 2 being drawn. Queensland is on a record run at present having won the last 5 series. You can be sure however that it won't be long before NSW fight back to take another series.
1994 - 'That's not a try, that's a miracle'
It was the first game of the series and NSW were winning 12-4 with 5 minutes left. QLD scored to make it 12-10. Then with 60 seconds to go in the game one of the most remarkable plays in history was to unfold. Queensland started deep in their own territory and with the ball passing through almost the entire team scored the game winning try, with commentator Ray Warren uttering the immortal words "Thats not a try, thats a miracle."
2004 - Billy Slater Try
In Game 2 of the 2004 series, Queensland player Billy Slater scored one of the most impressive origin tried ever. Slater stormed through to re-gather a kick from Darren Lockyer, before chipping the ball over the full back to re-gather and score.