The 2017 State of Origin series
Origin I - Wednesday, May 31, 8pm at Suncorp Stadium.
Origin II - Wednesday, June 21, 8pm at ANZ Stadium.
Origin III - Wednesday, July 12, 8pm at Suncorp Stadium.
In game one Matt Cecchin and former Courier journalist Gerard Sutton will be the two match referees.
Brett Suttor and Chris Butler will be the touch judges.
Bernard Sutton will be the senior review official in the bunker, and Ben Galea will be the other review official.
Melbourne Storm’s Cameron Smith has once again been named the Queensland Maroons captain.
Sydney Roosters’ Boyd Cordner has been named the NSW Blues’ captain.
Kevin Walters is the Queensland coach and Laurie Daley in the NSW coach.
The 2016 series
2016 State of Origin series results:
Origin I: Maroons 6 (Gagai try; Thurston goal) defeated Blues 4 (Cordner try) at ANZ Stadium.
Origin II: Maroons 26 (Gagai 3, Oates tries; Thurston 5 goals) defeated Blues 16 (Frizell, Maloney tries; Reynolds 3, Maloney goals) at Suncorp Stadium.
Origin III: Blues 18 (Frizell, Fifita, Jennings tries; Maloney 2, Gallen goals) defeated Maroons 14 (Inglis, Cooper, Boyd tries; Thurston goal) at ANZ Stadium.
Series result - Maroons 2 Blues 1.
Game One - Brisbane
July 13, 2016 - game three.
NSW downed the old foe Queensland 18-14.
Paul Gallen kicked the final goal to close the curtin on the then-NSW captain’s Origin career.
Unfortunately for Gallen and his men it did not signal a series win.
Queensland had already wrapped up the series after the second game.
It won the first 6-4 at ANZ Stadium, then it claimed the series with a 26-16 win on home soil at Suncorp Stadium.
The 2017 series is a very important one for NSW.
The side in blue needs to do something it has done only once since 2006 - win the State of Origin series.
If not, it will leave itself staring down the barrel of another era of darkness, after coming out of one with a win in 2014 following eight consecutive series losses.
Queensland has won the most recent two, and will be determined the make it three in a row.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters will oversee his second series in charge this year, and has selected an extremely competitive side to take the first step of achieving that three-in-a-row.
However, there are three big names missing - Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston and 2015 Wally Lewis medallist Corey Parker.
Parker retired at the end of last season, Thurston is injured and despite Slater’s hot form since returning from injury this year he was left out.
Thurston will be the biggest loss for the side.
He misses his first Origin in 37 games tomorrow night, after playing the previous 36, which is an all-time record.
In that 36-game career he has established the record for most points in a State of Origin career with 212.
Also in that time he has scored and set up countless tries and has won five man-of-the-match awards.
The inexperienced Anthony Milford comes in to replace Thurston and join Cooper Cronk in the halves, while his Broncos teammate Josh McGuire replaces Parker at lock.
In the halves for NSW are two familiar faces - James Maloney at five-eighth and Mitchell Pearce at halfback.
The pair have not had a lot of success at Origin level, but have showed that they can guide a side, winning the 2013 NRL grand final with the Roosters.
Maloney - now at the Cronulla Sharks - has been one of the standouts at NRL level in the past two seasons and will be one of NSW’s key players tomorrow night.
Laurie Daley will be determined to win his second series as NSW’s coach this series.
He took over in 2013 and won in 2014.
Having lost the last two his record now stands at five wins and seven losses.
He will be hoping that becomes eight wins and seven losses with a clean sweep.
If the NSW side was able to do that it would be the first time it has happened for the Blues since the 2000 series.
Origin facts - the key points
Since 1982 there have been 35 full State of Origin series played.
Queensland has the wood on NSW, winning 20 series to its opponent’s 13.
Two series have been drawn but both times Queensland had won the series prior and therefore retained the shield.
A total of 108 State of Origin matches have been played since 1980.
Again Queensland boasts a superior number of wins.
It has been victorious 58 times to NSW’s 48.
There have been two draws.
Since State of Origin began, Queensland has outscored NSW - by 1808 (311 tries, 281 goals, 11 field goals) to 1656 (281 tries, 265 goals, 13 field goals).
Current NSW coach Laurie Daley has won five matches and lost seven.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters made his State of Origin debut last year, and has won twice and lost once.
Both coaches have won one series each - Daley from four attempts and Walters from just the one.
Queensland captain Cameron Smith became the most-capped State of Origin player in game one last year, and still holds that record, which is no 39.
Queensland five eighth Johnathan Thurston holds the current record of most consecutive games played which is 36.
His 2017 season has been clouded by injury and tomorrow night that run comes to an end as he is ruled out.