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New South Wales rugby league team

New South Wales
Badge of New South Wales team
Nicknames The Blues
The Cockroaches
Governing body New South Wales Rugby League
Head coach Laurie Daley
Captain Paul Gallen
Most caps Brad Fittler (31)
Top try-scorer Michael O'Connor (11)
Top point-scorer Michael O'Connor (129)
Home stadium ANZ Stadium (84,000)
First game
New South Wales 8–12 New Zealand 
(Royal Agricultural Society Ground, Sydney; 1907)
First State of Origin game
Queensland 20–10 New South Wales
(Lang Park, Brisbane; 8 July 1980)
Biggest win
New South Wales 56-16 Queensland
(Stadium Australia, Sydney; 26 June 2000)
Biggest defeat
Queensland 52-6 New South Wales
(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. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 the Blues were captained by Paul Gallen and coached by Laurie Daley.

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.


  • History 1
    • Pre-Origin era (1907–1980) 1.1
    • State of Origin era (1980 – present) 1.2
  • Colours and badge 2
    • Shirt sponsors and manufacturers 2.1
  • Players 3
    • Most recent squad 3.1
    • Team of the Century (1908–2007) 3.2
    • Origin greats 3.3
    • Captains 3.4
  • Coaches 4
  • Selectors 5
  • Records 6
  • New South Wales Residents rugby league team 7
  • New South Wales Women's rugby league team 8
  • Notes 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Pre-Origin era (1907–1980)

The inaugural 'All Blues' squad of 1907.
The first New South Wales team to go to Queensland in 1910.

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:

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

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 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 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.

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.[1]

State of Origin era (1980 – present)

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 team mate 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

Colours and badge

The primary club colour of New South Wales Blues is sky blue, which represents the state colour of New South Wales. The secondary club colour is navy blue, with additional contrasting colour of white.

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers

Period Kit manufacturer Major Sponsor Minor Sponsor Shorts Sponsor
1980-1990 Classic Sportswear No minor sponsor No shorts sponsor 1991-1996 Classic Sportswear Tooheys Blue Tooheys Blue Tooheys Blue 1997 Canterbury Tooheys Tooheys Tooheys 1998-2004 Canterbury Wizard Home Loans Wizard Home Loans Wizard Home Loans 2005-2007 Canterbury Playstation 2 Wizard Home Loans 2008 Canterbury Wizard Home Loans nib 2009-2010 Classic Sportswear Aussie Home Loans nib Aussie Home Loans 2011– Classic Sportswear Victoria Bitter nib GIO


Most recent squad

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Josh Dugan
Wing Daniel Tupou Brett Morris
Centre Josh Morris
Centre Michael Jennings
Wing Will Hopoate
Five-eighth Mitchell Pearce
Halfback Trent Hodkinson
Prop Aaron Woods
Hooker Robbie Farah (c) Robbie Farah
Prop James Tamou
Second row Beau Scott
Second row Ryan Hoffman
Lock Josh Jackson Paul Gallen (c)1
Interchange Trent Merrin
Interchange Boyd Cordner
Interchange David Klemmer
Interchange Andrew Fifita Josh Jackson
Coach Laurie Daley
18th Man Tyson Frizell Tariq Sims
19th Man Ryan James Dylan Walker
20th Man Matt Moylan

1 - Gallen retained the captaincy role from Farah in Game II.

Team of the Century (1908–2007)

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:[2]

No. Position Player
FB Clive Churchill
WG Ken Irvine
CE Reg Gasnier
CE Graeme Langlands
WG Dally Messenger
FE Bob Fulton
HB Andrew Johns
PR Frank Burge
HK Sandy Pearce
No. Position Player
PR Glenn Lazarus
SR Ron Coote
SR Norm Provan
LK John Raper
RE Wally Prigg
RE Dave Brown
RE Steve Rogers
RE Roy Bull

Origin greats

As part of the 25-year celebrations in 2005, New South Wales named 25 legends for each year before that.[3]

No. Position Player
FB Tim Brasher
SR Noel Cleal
LK Bradley Clyde
FE Laurie Daley
HK Ben Elias
CE Andrew Ettingshausen
FE Brad Fittler
WG Eric Grothe
PR Paul Harragon
FB Garry Jack
HB Andrew Johns
FE Brett Kenny
No. Position Player
PR Glenn Lazarus
CE Paul McGregor
HB Steve Mortimer
WG Michael O'Connor
LK Wayne Pearce
LK Ray Price
PR Steve Roach
PR Ian Roberts
SR Paul Sironen
HB Peter Sterling
HB Ricky Stuart
HB Geoff Toovey
WG Rod Wishart


Player Occasions Game(s) as Captain
Tommy Raudonikis 1 1980
Steve Rogers 1 1981
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
Gavin Miller 3 1989
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
Geoff Toovey 3 1997
Andrew Johns 6 2002, 2003
Danny Buderus 15 2004–2008
Kurt Gidley 5 2009, Game 1 & 2 2010
Trent Barrett 1 Game 3 2010
Paul Gallen 8 2011, 2012, Game 1 & 2 2013, 2014
Robbie Farah 2 Game 3 2013, Game 1 2015


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.

Coach Era Games Wins Success %
Ted Glossop 1980–1981, 1983 5 1 20%
Frank Stanton 1982, 1984 6 2 33%
Terry Fearnley 1985 3 2 66%
Ron Willey 1986–1987 7 5 71%
John Peard 1988 3 0 0%
Jack Gibson 1989–1990 6 2 33%
Tim Sheens 1991 3 1 33%
Phil Gould 1992–1996; 2002–2004 24 14 58%
Tommy Raudonikis 1997–1998 6 3 50%
Wayne Pearce 1999–2001 9 5 56%
Ricky Stuart 2005; 2011–2012 9 4 44%
Graham Murray 2006–2007 6 2 33%
Craig Bellamy 2008–2010 9 2 22%
Laurie Daley 2013-present 9 4 44%


The current New South Wales State of Origin side's selection panel consists of Bob Fulton, Bob McCarthy and Geoff Gerard. During the Blues five series loss from 2006 to 2010 they came in for criticism.[4] The selectors have come under increasing amounts of criticism as NSW also lost the series in 2011, 2012 and 2013 making it a record 8 series losses in a row for the Blues.


New South Wales Residents rugby league team

New South Wales Women's rugby league team


a. ^ Young switched places with Ennis to play in the starting side after being initially selected for the bench.

See also


  1. ^ Baker, Andrew (1995-08-20). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era".  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ "League names Origin greats". Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  4. ^ Swanton, Will (2010-05-22). "Selectors are wrong, wrong, wrong, unless they're right, of course".  

External links

  • New South Wales rugby league team on Twitter
  • New South Wales rugby league team on Facebook
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