2004 State Of Origin Series

2004 State of Origin series
Won by New South Wales (11th title)
Series margin   2–1
Points scored 107
Attendance 203,309 (ave. 67,770 per match)
Top points scorer(s) Craig Fitzgibbon (20)
Top try scorer(s) Billy Slater (3)

The 2004 State of Origin series was the 23rd time that the annual three-game series between the Queensland and New South Wales representative rugby league football teams was contested entirely under 'state of origin' selection rules. A pre-series Blues mobile phone scandal, Brad Fittler's comeback, a Golden point outcome in Game I and an extraordinary Billy Slater try showed that State of Origin's ability to create memorable football moments was as strong as ever after 25 years of the concept. The New South Wales' Game III victory saw a match-up in the respective cumulative tallies at 35 wins apiece, continuing a recurring trend where any push toward dominance by one side is soon countered by the other. The Ron McAuliffe Medal for Queensland player of the series was awarded to Steve Price.

Game I

New South Wales players Anthony Minichiello and Mark Gasnier were dropped following a drunken incident during the Blues' training camp when it was made public that Gasnier had left a lewd message on a female acquaintance's phone.[1]

26 May
New South Wales 9–8 Queensland
Shaun Timmins (5 - 1t, 1fg)
Craig Fitzgibbon (4 - 1t)
(Report) (4 - 1t) Brent Tate
(4 - 1t) Scott Prince
Telstra Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 68,344
Referee/s: Sean Hampstead
Man of the Match: Shaun Timmins[2]

Game one featured the first ever Golden point decision in State of Origin football in the very first game where the ruling became available. With scores locked at 8-all and three minutes of extra time played, St George Illawarra Dragons player Shaun Timmins, who had returned to top-class and representative football against unlikely odds after two career-threatening knee injuries and operations, stepped up and kicked a 37-metre left-foot field goal to steal victory for New South Wales. Blues halfback Craig Gower had already missed three earlier field goal attempts, was struggling with a knee injury and was closely marked by Queensland at every kick opportunity so it was left to Timmins to create his own moment of Origin folklore.

Game II

Game II had plenty of hype surrounding it after Blues coach Phil Gould coaxed Brad Fittler out of representative retirement to spearhead the Blues campaign. First game hero Timmins was missing through injury as was Gower and next choice half-backs Trent Barrett, Matt Orford and Brett Kimmorley. This left Sydney Roosters number seven Brett Finch to make his Origin debut alongside his club captain Fittler at five-eighth.

16 June
Queensland 22–18 New South Wales
Billy Slater (8 - 2t)
Cameron Smith (4 - 2g)
Dane Carlaw (4 - 1t)
Willie Tonga (4 - 1t)
Scott Prince (2 - 1g)
(Report) (8 - 2t) Timana Tahu
(6 - 3g) Craig Fitzgibbon
(4 - 1t) Luke Rooney
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Attendance: 52,478
Referee/s: Sean Hampstead
Man of the Match: Billy Slater

Suncorp Stadium proved to be a graveyeard for the Blues thanks to one of the greatest Origin tries ever seen. 20-year-old Billy Slater, a former track work jockey who had burst onto the rugby league scene in 2003, stormed onto a Darren Lockyer grubber kick from halfway before chipping over the top of Blues fullback Anthony Minichiello, chasing, regathering and scoring in the same instant.[3]

Game III

Gould gambled by making six changes to the side which had played in game II.

7 July
New South Wales 36–14 Queensland
Mark Gasnier (10 - 2t,1g)
Craig Fitzgibbon (10- 5g)
Anthony Minichiello (4 - 1t)
Luke Rooney (4 - 1t)
Brad Fittler (4 - 1t)
Trent Barrett (4 - 1t)
(Report) (6 - 3g) Cameron Smith
(4 - 1t) Matt Bowen
(4 - 1t) Billy Slater
Telstra Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 82,487
Referee/s: Paul Simpkins
Man of the Match: Craig Fitzgibbon

In Game III, the Blues and their inspirational former captain Brad Fittler saved their best till last. The match was also the swansong for Phil Gould, New South Wales' most successful Origin coach who had commenced his coaching association with Fittler 14 years earlier at the beginning of their respective coaching and playing careers.

St George Illawarra provided six players including debutant centres Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper and it was their attacking impetus along with Fittler's class that clinched an emphatic 36-14 victory. Fittler scored the last try in the match to the delight of his team-mates.[4]

New South Wales squad

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Ben Hornby Anthony Minichiello
Wing Luke Lewis Timana Tahu Luke Lewis
Centre Michael De Vere Luke Lewis Mark Gasnier
Centre Matt Gidley Matt Cooper
Wing Luke Rooney
Five-Eighth Shaun Timmins Brad Fittler
Halfback Craig Gower Brett Finch Trent Barrett
Prop Ryan O'Hara Jason Stevens Jason Ryles
Hooker Danny Buderus (c)
Prop Mark O'Meley
Second Row Nathan Hindmarsh
Second Row Andrew Ryan Craig Fitzgibbon
Lock Craig Fitzgibbon Shaun Timmins
Interchange Craig Wing
Interchange Trent Waterhouse Ben Kennedy
Interchange Brent Kite
Interchange Willie Mason
Coach Phil Gould

Queensland squad

Position Game I Game II Game III
Fullback Rhys Wesser
Wing Justin Hodges Matt Sing
Centre Paul Bowman Brent Tate
Centre Brent Tate Willie Tonga
Wing Billy Slater
Five-Eighth Chris Flannery Darren Lockyer (c)
Halfback Scott Prince
Prop Shane Webcke (c) Shane Webcke
Hooker Cameron Smith
Prop Steve Price
Second Row Michael Crocker Petero Civoniceva Michael Crocker
Second Row Dane Carlaw
Lock Tonie Carroll Chris Flannery
Interchange Ben Ross
Interchange Matt Bowen
Interchange Petero Civoniceva Chris Flannery Petero Civoniceva
Interchange Travis Norton Corey Parker
Coach Michael Hagan

See also


External links


  • Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney

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