Middo: Stat milestones for Maroons and Blues
Stats guru David Middleton has chipped in to highlight these important facts and figures heading into Game I of the Holden State of Origin series:
The 2018 opener will be the ninth State of Origin game to be played in Melbourne and the fifth at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The first was played in the Victorian capital in 1990 at Olympic Park. Both states have won four games in Melbourne, while the Blues have a 3-1 winning record at the MCG.
The last Origin played in Melbourne (Game 2, 2015 at the MCG) attracted a record Origin crowd of 91,513.
The retirement of Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk has cost Queensland 101 games in Origin experience.
The absence of Darius Boyd and Matt Scott takes away a further 50 Origin appearances.
Kevin Walters' Maroons total 112 games in Origin experience, their lowest since Game 1, 2006.
Similarly, New South Wales will field their most inexperienced line-up since Game 3, 1984.
Brad Fittler's Blues have a total of 39 games in Origin experience, compared with 26 games for the 1984 team coached by Frank Stanton.
The Blues' team is the youngest to represent New South Wales since Game 1, 2004. Fittler's Blues will average 25 years and nine days. The 2004 team averaged 24 years and 264 days.
The Blues' 11 players on debut is the most for a New South Wales team since 1981, when 12 of the 14 players who took the field were playing their first Origin match.
Queensland fullback Billy Slater will become the 10th Maroons player (and 11th overall) to play 30 State of Origin matches when he takes the field at the Melbourne Cricket Ground next Wednesday night. Slater will be honoured for attaining the milestone with the Fogs Statesman Award.