For the first time in State of Origin’s 40-year history, the interstate series will take place at the end of the season.
In another series first, Adelaide will host a match for the first time, with the players flying in from Queensland and NSW on the day of the game.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Origin Game I.
What time will State of Origin kick off?
Play will kick off at Adelaide Oval at 8:10pm AEDT on Wednesday for those of you in the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria.
Around the country, that equates to:
- 7:10pm AEST in Queensland
- 7:40pm ACDT in South Australia
- 5:10pm AWST in Western Australia
- 6:10pm ACST in the Northern Territory
However, rugby league is notorious for being slightly flexible with its kick-off times, so these times are not likely to be exact.
Why is State of Origin being played in Adelaide?
This will be the first time the series will be played at Adelaide Oval, but in previous years games have been played in Victoria (eight times) and Perth once (last year’s game two). One match was even played in Long Beach, California back in 1987.
NRL games have been played at Adelaide Oval over the past three years, but when that deal ended, the South Australia Tourism Commission opted to bid for a State of Origin game instead.
The game is expected to be a sell out, with a COVID-capped crowd of 26,500 in attendance.
“The interest from states, outside NSW and Queensland, to host our showpiece event is extraordinary,” NRL boss Andrew Abdo said earlier this year.
Abdo has some numbers to back up that statement.
Last year, State of Origin Game I was the highest rating TV program in Australia with 3.23 million viewers, while Game III (2.91 million) and Game II (2.84 million) rated third and fourth overall.
Why is State of Origin taking place at the end of the season, and will it stay here?
The original date for this year’s Origin series opener was Wednesday, June 3.
However, with the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there was never really a hope of the matches being played then — the season only resumed on May 28, after all.
“Fans have long suggested the series should be played in a separate window to the [NRL] Premiership and now we have the opportunity to trial the concept,” Abdo said.
Whether the trial will result in a permanent switch though, remains to be seen, but ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said “if it’s a runaway success we might look at it again”.
Who is favourite for State of Origin?
Winners of the last two series, New South Wales are clear favourites to make it a hat-trick this year.
The Blues line-up features some of the biggest names in the game, with coach Brad Fittler jamming his team with a plethora of experienced, high-quality players.
Queensland, on the other hand, has named a 21-man squad that’s packed with rookies — 12 of them, in fact.
However, what experience the Maroons lack on the field is more than made up for in the coaching box.
Wayne Bennett will coach his 23rd Origin match after he answered his state’s call to replace new Broncos coach Kevin Walters, while his assistant Mal Meninga played in 33 matches before coaching the Maroons to nine series wins in 10 years between 2006 and 2015.
What are the teams?
Here’s how the two teams will line up on Wednesday night for game one.
|Queensland||New South Wales|
|AJ Brimson||1||James Tedesco|
|Xavier Coates||2||Daniel Tupou|
|Brenko Lee||3||Clinton Gutherson|
|Dane Gagai||4||Jack Wighton|
|Phillip Sami||5||Josh Addo-Carr|
|Cameron Munster||6||Luke Keary|
|Daly Cherry-Evans||7||Nathan Cleary|
|Christian Welch||8||Daniel Saifiti|
|Jake Friend||9||Damien Cook|
|Josh Papalii||10||Junior Paulo|
|Felise Kaufusi||11||Boyd Cordner|
|Coen Hess||12||Tyson Frizell|
|Tino Faasuamaleaui||13||Jake Trbojevic|
|Ben Hunt||14||Cody Walker|
|Lindsay Collins||15||Payne Haas|
|Jai Arrow||16||Cameron Murray|
|Jayden Su’A||17||Angus Crichton|
|Kurt Capewell||18||Cameron McInnes|
|Moeaki Fotuaika||19||Reagan Campbell-Gillard|
|Dunamis Lui||20||Nathan Brown|
|Hymel Hunt||21||Zac Lomax|
How can I watch State of Origin?
State of Origin remains the exclusive property of free-to-air broadcaster Channel Nine in Australia, and its online streaming service, 9NOW.
Fox Sports and Kayo will have a replay immediately afterwards.
There are also a number of international TV broadcasters, so check your local guides if you are out of the country.
Another great way for expats to follow the game is with our live blog, which will get underway at about 7:00pm AEST.
The ABC will also have live radio coverage of the match in Queensland, NSW and ACT, plus digital radio nationwide.
Will the national anthem be played at State of Origin?
The national anthem will be played pre-game, but only after a bit of debate.
Initially, the ARLC decided that the anthem would not be sung.
However, almost immediately after that news was made public, an announcement was made to scrap that decision and have the anthem as usual.
“The original decision not to play the anthem at Origin was about the rivalry and tribalism associated with the Origin series,” ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said.
“However, having listened to the public response and given the strong national unity in fighting the COVID pandemic together, the commission has decided it is important to ensure that unity continues.”
Where, and when are the other two matches?
All three State of Origin matches are crammed into a 15-day standalone window this season.
Game II will take place in Sydney at the Olympic stadium next Wednesday night, November 11.
The series will conclude at Brisbane’s Lang Park the following Wednesday, November 18.
Is there a women’s State of Origin?
There is, but it won’t be played at the same venue as the men — and it is only one game, not a series.
This year’s match will be played at the Sunshine Coast Stadium on Friday, November 13, kick off at 7:45pm.
It’s the first time since 2016 the game will take place in Queensland.
New South Wales have won both matches since the Interstate Challenge was rebranded as Women’s State of Origin in 2018.