Top 10 Highest Scoring State of Origin Games

Top 10 Highest Scoring State of Origin Games

The State of Origin is one of the fiercest rivalries in sport, and is renowned for its incredible intensity. That doesn’t mean, however, that the series isn’t capable of throwing up free-flowing, high-scoring games. Over the course of 40 years there have been a multitude of games which have seen big scores put up by either one or both teams, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at the ten highest scoring games in State of Origin history.

Game 3, 2000 – NSW 56-16 QLD

Game 3 of the 2000 State of Origin series was a dead rubber after New South Wales saluted in each of the first two games, and Queensland treated it as such. Their defence was no match for the powerful offence of the Blues, who put on a clinic en route to a 56-16 demolition in front of 58,767 fans at Stadium Australia. The first half was a high-scoring, see-sawing affair which saw NSW enter the break with a 20-10 lead, but in the second half they were dominant, crossing the try line on six occasions. Ryan Girdler was the best player on the park, scoring three tries and converting a massive nine out of nine tries. It wasn’t a close game nor was it overly important in the grand scheme of things, but this one sits fairly comfortably atop the list as the State of Origin’s highest scoring game.

Game 3, 1983 – QLD 43-22 NSW

1983 marked just the second time a three-game State of Origin series had been played, and heading into the final game it was locked at one win apiece. The second game had been a fiercely contested and low-scoring affair, yielding just 16 total points, so there was little to hint at the offensive shootout that was to come in Game 3. The first half saw just 21 points scored, all of them to Queensland, and when the Maroons scored the first two tries of the second half that lead ballooned out to 31 points. They’d go on to cross the line another couple of times while New South Wales managed four consolation tries of their own, leading to a 43-22 win for Queensland in what would remain the highest scoring game in Origin history for 17 more years.

Game 3, 1988 – QLD 38-22 NSW

The third highest game in Origin history was, once again, a Game 3, and this one was another dead rubber after Queensland won the first two of the series. It showed, with less than 17,000 fans turning up to Sydney Football Stadium to see a game in which the lack of anything to play for was reflected by the lack of defence. Both sides were able to score relatively easily, particularly the Maroons, who went on to win 38-22. The 16-point win gave them the first 3-0 Origin win in history, making what was otherwise a relatively unremarkable game an historic occasion.

Game 3, 2011 – QLD 34-24 NSW

Another Game 3, and this time one in which the series was on the line. It had been a tight series, with Queensland winning Game 1 by just four points and NSW grabbing the second by ten, and with everything to play for in the decider, a tight, defensive affair seemed likely. Instead, the 52,498 fans at Lang Park were treated to a free-flowing and high-scoring game which saw Queensland salute 34-24. The Maroons dominated from the outset, scoring the first four tries and scoring the first 24 points, but the Blues bounced back with two tries just before the break. Unsurprisingly, the game tightened up in the second half, but 34 points in the first and a couple of late, consolation tries to the Blues in the dying minutes saw this game total skyrocket to 58 points, with Queensland winning 34-24. Cameron Smith was named Man of the Match for the second time in the series, the third of what would be seven such awards by the end of his glittering career.

Game 3, 2015 – QLD 52-6 NSW

New South Wales could count themselves somewhat unlucky not to have wrapped up the 2015 State of Origin series by Game 3; their Game 2 victory was preceded by a devastating one-point loss in front of a Blues-centric crowd of over 80,000. Nonetheless, entering Game 3 they had an opportunity to enter enemy territory and still win the series, but instead they suffered the biggest loss in Origin history and one of the most humiliating in their history. Queensland jumped out of the blocks in the first half and led 22-2 at the break, and things only got worse for the visitors in the second half. The Maroons went on to score another five converted tries over the next 40 minutes, with the Blues only score coming courtesy of a Michael Jennings try in the 61stminute, and the 52-6 scoreline saw Queensland regain the shield.

Game 1, 2021 – NSW 50-6 QLD

The first match on this list which wasn’t a Game 3 came just last year, and was yet another blowout; this time in favour of New South Wales. The Blues entered the series as the more fancied side, but few could have predicted the utter disdain with which they treated their northern neighbours. At half time they led 20-6 in a game which was theoretically still in the balance, but they put paid to that idea pretty quickly. The first 19 minutes of the half saw them score just one try, but between the 59th and 69th minute the visitors went on an incredible run, crossing the line on four occasions to establish a 50-6 lead. Even with no score coming in the last ten minutes, this was the sixth highest scoring game in Origin history, and the Blues’ biggest ever win.

Game 2, 2005 – NSW 32-22 QLD

The 2005 State of Origin series was an incredibly high-scoring one, with at least 42 points scored in all three games. Game 2, played at Stadium Australia in front of over 82,000 fans, was the highest scoring of them all, with a total of 54 points being put on the board in a tense, see-sawing affair. The game didn’t look likely to be anything out of the ordinary in the first half, with Queensland scoring two tries to New South Wales’ one to head into half time with a 12-8 lead. The Blues, however, quickly stamped their authority on the game in the second half, with two converted tries in the first ten minutes and three in the first 20 giving them a 26-12 lead. Queensland battled on bravely, scoring two more tries in the final 20 minutes, but it was too little too late as New South Wales tied up a series – which they would go on to win – with a 32-22 victory.

Game 3, 2001 – QLD 40-14 NSW

Heading into Game 3 in 2001, the ledger was locked at one win apiece, but it hadn’t exactly been a close series. Queensland won in a blowout 34-16 win in Game 1 which went close to making this list itself, before New South Wales bounced back with an easy 26-8 win on their home turf in Game 1. The home team had a 60-24 record over the first two games, so with this game being played at ANZ Stadium in Brisbane, Maroons fans were hoping that trend would continue. It did. New South Wales took just 39 seconds to score what was the fastest try in Origin history, but it was all downhill from there. Queensland raced away to a 28-8 lead at half time before scoring another two tries in the second half, ultimately winning 40-14 and winning back the Origin shield.

Game 1, 2010 – QLD 28-24 NSW

Game 1 of the 2010 series was Origin footy at its best. Played in front of nearly 70,000 fans on a rainy Sydney evening, this was a tough and tight contest from the outset. Initially, points were relatively hard to come by, and Queensland led 12-8 at half time. The game opened up in the second half though, with the two teams trading blows for 20 minutes before the Maroons opened up a gap with two consecutive tries. The Blues fought on gallantly and scored two late tries, but it all came too late as they went down 28-24.

Game 3, 1989 – QLD 36-16 NSW

Queensland entered the 1989 State of Origin series having claimed their first ever clean sweep the year prior, and a 36-6 win in Game 1 followed by a 16-12 victory in Game 2 gave them a chance to make it two in a row. Though there was technically nothing to play for, pride is a major factor in Origin and the chance to claim back-to-back 3-0 wins would have been as tantalising for Queensland as it was humiliating for New South Wales. Clearly the Maroons had a major talent advantage at this moment in history, and they made the most of it, racing out to a 36-16 win in one of the highest scoring games in Origin history.

Incredibly, seven of the above ten games and all of the top five were Game 3s, and plenty of them were in series which were locked at 1-1 and with everything on the line. A number of others, however, came in series in which one team was clearly superior, with many of these high-scoring games coming in blowouts in which one team did the vast majority of the scoring. Regardless of how they got there, however, all of the above games made their way into the history books, slotting into the top ten for State of Origin highest scoring games in history.