An emotional Brent Tate had the entire Maroons inner sanctum hanging on every word when he accepted the Peter Jackson Memorial Medal in the dressing rooms after Queenslands series-clinching Game Three victory.
Im super stoked to have this, Tate said with his eyes firmly fixed on the medal following Queenslands epic 12-10 win. I love playing for Queensland, always have. I remember watching Jacko. I never got to meet him, but to win an award in his name ... Im stoked.
Long-serving Maroons manager Steve Walters said Tate thoroughly deserved the award, which recognised his outstanding contribution to the team. He never quits. Wed like to think thats a part of the culture of the Maroons ... you never say die, you never quit, and you wouldnt get a better example of this than this guy.
The emotional scenes inside the ANZ Stadium dressing rooms capped off another remarkable Origin campaign by the Maroons, who defied the odds to win an eighth-straight series after losing the opening match in Sydney. NSW stunned Queensland in Game One, earning a well-deserved 14-6 victory to leave them on the brink of ending the Maroons recent dominance.
Luke Lewis claimed man of the match honours for the Blues, who restricted Queensland to a solitary try and conversion in front of 80, 380 fans. The match was marred by an ugly incident involving Blues skipper Paul Gallen, who unleashed a flurry of punches on Nate Myles.
Gallen remained on the field, much to the dismay of Queensland supporters. Game Two at Brisbanes Suncorp Stadium couldnt come quickly enough for the Maroons and their fans. Mal Meningas charges responded like the champion team they are, rocking the Blues with sustained pressure in a near perfect opening half.
Debutants Daly Cherry-Evans and Josh Papalii made an immediate impact after the Queensland selectors made two changes following the opening game. In a revamped line-up, Cherry-Evans and Papalii came into the 17 for Ashley Harrison and David Shillington. The Maroons went on to win comfortably, with Darius Boyd crossing for two tries in the 26-6 victory.
The Maroons still had it all do to however, with a second trip to a hostile ANZ Stadium in Sydney awaiting them. It was always a game that was going to go right down to the final few minutes, and thats exactly how it panned out as the Maroons held their composure to win a thriller 12-10.
Tate collected the man of the match award, with the Wally Lewis Medal for the player of the series going to Queensland captain Cameron Smith. The Storm stars leadership was again of the highest order, both on and off the field.
The Maroons enhanced their reputation as the peoples team by conducting two Fan Days before Game One. The first was held in Bundaberg, with the squad flying to the city following the Naming of the Team dinner at Suncorp Stadium. The dinner celebrated the achievements of the 1959 Queensland team the last group of Queensland players to win an interstate series before State of Origin commenced in 1980.
The dinner provided wonderful recognition for the past players, and at the same time provided a timely reminder to the current playing group about the many decades of hardship that previous Queensland teams endured.
Away from rugby league, hardship in its truest form was experienced by the people of Bundaberg after the second major flood hit the region. But the tough times were replaced by scenes of joy and celebration when the Maroons spent a day in the city with three public appearances. The players and coaches were greeted by thousands of fans at a shopping centre visit, street parade and Salter Oval coaching clinic.
The Maroons took their interaction with supporters to a new level just a few days later when they arrived in Sydney for Game One and went straight to a Fan Day in the heart of enemy territory. Thousands of people turned out to wish the Maroons well, despite the poor weather.
As well as completing extensive media commitments, the Maroons engaged in numerous activities with sponsors and stakeholders. Before Game Three, the team momentarily escaped the pressure by spending a relaxing afternoon on XXXX Island.
NEW SOUTH WALES 14 (Jarryd Hayne, Michael Jennings tries; James Maloney 3 goals) def XXXX QUEENSLAND MAROONS 6 (Darius Boyd try; Cameron Smith goal) at ANZ Stadium
Man of the Match: Luke Lewis
XXXX QUEENSLAND MAROONS 26 (Darius Boyd 2, Greg Inglis, Sam Thaiday tries; Johnathan Thurston 5 goals) def NEW SOUTH WALES 6 (Brett Morris try; James Maloney goal) at Suncorp Stadium
Man of the Match: Cameron Smith
XXXX QUEENSLAND MAROONS 12 (Johnathan Thurston, Justin Hodges tries; Johnathan Thurston 2 goals) def NEW SOUTH WALES BLUES 10 (James McManus, Trent Merrin tries; James Maloney goal) at ANZ Stadium
Man of the Match: Brent Tate
Ron McAuliffe Medal: Cameron Smith (Maroons player of the series)
Peter Jackson Memorial Medal: Brent Tate (Outstanding contribution to team)
Wally Lewis Medal: Cameron Smith (Overall player of the series)
Players Player awards:
Game 1: Corey Parker
Game 2: Matt Scott
Game 3: Matt Scott
The 2013 Holden State of Origin Series decider become the highest rating rugby league game of all time, with 4.232 million Australian viewers tuning in through the Nine, WIN and NBN networks.
Other points of interest ...
- The 2013 series became the highest rating in history with a cumulative total audience of 11.966 million viewers watching over the three games (11.897 million in 2012)
- The series recorded the biggest attendance in the events history with 215,883 fans across the three games (203,309 set in 2004)