Top 5 State of Origin tries
From the muddy the magical. From the flying Folau to the sizzling Slater and bedazzling 'Bert'. Here's a tribute to five of the finest four-pointers we've ever feasted our eyes on.
1. Chip and chase, style and grace. Billy Slater, Game 2, 2004
Took about announcing yourself with a bang! Billy Slater was a 20-year-old in his second Origin game when he lit up Suncorp Stadium with a chip and chase try that had to be seen to be believed.
After picking up a Darren Lockyer grubber on the fly on halfway, Slater swerved to his right and chipped over fullback Anthony Minichiello's head and regathered the ball to score and send the Maroons faithful into a frenzy. Fourteen years and 11 more Origin tries later, Billy The Kid is still blitzing it.
2. You muddy beauty! Greg Dowling, Game 2, 1984
Props aren't meant to score tries at all, let alone tries that require scooping the ball up off your bootlaces on a wet night at the grand old SCG.
When Wally Lewis chipped ahead he could hardly have expected the ball to hit the crossbar and drop straight down into a puddle. Even less likely was man mountain Dowling swooping down and regathering the ball as clean as a whistle and plunging over to wrap up the series. The bedraggled Blues and a soggy SCG crowd could only shake their heads in disbelief.
3. Air raid warning. Israel Folau, Game 3, 2008
Just 19 and three games into his Origin career, Folau flew into the night sky at ANZ Stadium to pull down a Johnathan Thurston cross kick before executing a freakish putdown while hanging horizontal to the ground. Degree of difficulty 9.9.
The human highlight reel was happy to let Blues winger Anthony Quinn share the limelight, using him as a step ladder to soar for the ball and then sitting on his back as he forced the ball. Little wonder the boffins at the AFL were so desperate to lure the high-flying Izzy across.
4. The sideline shuffle, Jarryd Hayne, Game 1, 2007
Only a select few down the years have been good enough to win Origin selection as a teenager. Even fewer are able to make a mark in footy's toughest arena – but that's exactly what 19-year-old Jarryd Hayne did in 2007 when he was handed a Blue jersey on the end of a backline which included old hands like Anthony Minichiello, Matt Cooper and Jamie Lyon.
As the halftime siren sounded, Hayne knocked down a kick by Brent Tate, regathered the ball, palmed off Justin Hodges and set off downfield. SAs Billy Slater came across in cover, Hayne put in audacious grubber kick which he duly scooped up and raced away to score a spectacular solo try that stamped the young Eel as a rare talent.
5. Blues finally break the drought. Brett Kenny. Game 2, 1985
As Wally Lewis' Maroons and Steve Mortimer's Blues header for the grand old SCG for Game Two, 1985, the ledger from the first 12 Origin games stood at 8-4 in favour of Queensland. More galling for NSW was that they were yet to win a series but that was all about to change.
After a dominant victory away from home in Game One, Mortimer's men arrived in Sydney high on self-belief. One very good reason to feel confident was the man standing next to Mortimer in the No.6 jumper – Brett Kenny.
A supremely gifted player who could conjure a try from nothing, Kenny would reach out and plant the ball down late in the match to secure a 21-14 win for the Blues and their first ever series triumph.
"I looked at all my NSW players after Brett scored the final try, I collapsed and kissed the SCG turf and thanked God for this amazing opportunity in my life," says Mortimer today, still in awe of the genius of the man they call 'Bert'.
Witness Australia's greatest sporting rivalry when Origin comes to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 6. Bronze tickets available from $49 here.