Since its inception in 1980, the State of Origin series has blossomed into one of the great spectacles in Australian sport.
And as is often the case with heated rivalries between hostile neighbours, New South Wales and Queensland have given us plenty of entertaining sideshows over the years.
The biffs, the boxing matches, the all-in brawls – these are some of the most memorable moments in State of Origin history.
The refs may have clamped down on it in recent times, but every year we cross our fingers and pray for a classic, old-fashioned barney.
We could not fit them all in, but here are five of the very best Origin fights between the Blues and the Maroons.
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Gallen vs. Myles – Game One, 2013
For better or worse (well, worse), this is the encounter that changed the way State of Origin refs dealt with on-field fisticuffs.
Unhappy at Paul Gallen’s late swinging arm in the tackle, Nat Myles made his grievances known with a few choice remarks and a shove.
It would seem the NSW captain did not appreciate his opponent’s tone, responding with a pair of well-aim punches from either hand.
Fireworks – Game Two, 1984
Pre-game pyrotechnics served as an ideal soundtrack to the opening moments of the ’84 clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
A stray boot on a would-be tackler as Queensland’s Greg Miles charged out of the back field sent sparks flying on the first play of the game.
Smoke from the fireworks gave the ensuing melee an otherworldly feel as wrestling matches and boxing bouts broke out between bitter rivals and clubmates alike.
Cattledog – Game Three, 1997
In the words of the one and only Tommy Raudonikis, ‘cattledog’ was a rallying cry he would bring out so NSW would “put a stink on” when they were in a spot of bother.
That call-to-arms was taken up with gleeful abandon by Mark ‘Spud’ Carroll during a scrum in the final game of the ’97 Origin series.
The highlight: Andrew Johns copping a beating from Jamie Goddard, only to go back for more and wind up floored with a bloody mouth.
Geyer vs. Lewis – Game Two, 1991
It is impossible to talk about State of Origin brawls without making mention of either Mark Geyer or Wally Lewis.
Both could feature several time over in this piece, but perhaps their most memorable tussle came in the second act of the ’91 series.
A tasty half-time scrap ended with Lewis and Geyer, toe to toe, screaming in each other’s face – one of the iconic images of Origin footy.
All-in at the MCG – Game Two, 1995
Ray Warren, the long-serving Nine Network commentator, said it best: “Well they’ve come from everywhere like it was almost a rehearsal.”
The Melbourne Cricket Ground provided the perfect amphitheatre for an all-in brawl that everyone and their dog knew was coming.
It did not disappoint, however, with so many individual fights breaking out that the cameras had no hope of capturing all the mayhem.
- The original biff – Game One, 1980
- Beer cans rain on Lang Park – Game Two, 1988
- Crocker clocks Poore Justin – Game Two, 2009
- The Price is White – Game Three, 2009
- The Luke O’Donnell show – Game Two, 2010
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