1987 Rugby League State of Origin series

1987 Rugby League State of Origin series

year = 1987

count = 4th series
imagesize = 100px
caption = Logo of the Australian Rugby League
winners =
margin = 2-1
points = 72
attendance = 109091
top points scorer = (14 points)
top try scorer = ( 3 tries)
The 1987 State of Origin series was the 8th annual Australian Rugby League State of Origin series between New South Wales and Queensland. It saw the emergence of new faces who would go on to become Origin legends - Queensland's Allan Langer and New South Wales' Andrew Ettingshausen; record crowds for all three Australian matches and an exhibition encounter played in Los Angeles.__TOC__


Game One

bg = #eeeeee
date = June 2, 1987
report = [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/soo/game18.html (Report)]
team1 =
team2 =
score = 20–16
points1 = (12 - 2 t, 2 g) Michael O'Connor
(4 - 1 t) Mark McGaw
(4 - 1 t) Les Davidson
points2 = Dale Shearer(4 - 1 t)
Tony Currie(4 - 1 t)
Greg Dowling (4 - 1 t)
Gary Belcher (2 - 1 g)
Peter Jackson (2 - 1 g)
stadium =Lang Park
attendance = 33,441
referee= Mick Stone
manofmatch= Les Davidson

Mark Murray had missed just one Origin clash in the first five series but when he suffered a serious eye injury that forced his premature retirement in the off-season of 1986, it was widely expected that the Sydney Roosters in-form half-back Laurie Spina would be called into the side. Instead the Maroons selectors opted for the jockey-sized Ipswich Jets half-back Allan Langer then just 68kg and a month shy of his 21st birthday. In his first match at Origin level, Langer proved he was a worthy partner for Wally Lewis in the halves and silenced his doubters with a performance that went close to earning him the man-of-the-match award which was won by Blues' second rower Les Davidson.

With only minutes left in the game the scores were locked at 16-all and heading for the first drawn result when referee Mick Stone made one of the best refereeing decisions in Origin history under immense pressure in front of a rabid Queensland crowd. New South Wales' half-back Peter Sterling missed with a field-goal attempt before launching a final backline raid down the right hand side of the field. Cronulla Sharks centre Andrew Ettingshausen, on debut and playing on the wing, sent his club team-mate Mark McGaw away on a long burst down the sideline. Cornered by the converging defence, McGaw threw an inside pass that was knocked down by Queensland but was kicked ahead into the Maroon's in-goal. In a flurry of action that saw arms, legs and bodies flailing in desperation, a hand reached out and grounded the ball just before it skidded dead.

Referee Stone was forced to make a split second pivotal decision without the help of the video referee backup of today's game. Stone ruled that McGaw had touched down centimetres inside the dead-ball line for a try. Video replays showed Stone correct, making his decision one of the best and bravest rulings a referee has made in a big-match situation.

Game Two

bg = #eeeeee
date = June 11, 1987
report = [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/soo/game19.html (Report)]
|team1 =
team2 =
score = 12–6
points1 = (4 - 1 t) Dale Shearer
(4 - 1 t) Greg Dowling
(4 - 1 t) Colin Scott
points2 = Andrew Farrar(4 - 1 t)
Michael O'Connor (2 - 1 g)
stadium = Sydney Cricket Ground
attendance = 42,048
referee= Barry Gomersall
manofmatch= Peter Sterling

Game II at the Sydney Cricket Ground in front of a record Origin crowd of 42,048 was played in torrential rain. The powerful kicking of Lewis and fullback Gary Belcher was superior to the Blues' who were forced to play much of the match in their own half. Queensland capitalised on New South Wales' errors to emerge with a 12-6 victory. On his 27th birthday, Peter Sterling earned the man-of-the-match award, a rare honour for a player on the losing side.

Game Three

bg = #eeeeee
date = July 15, 1987
report = [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/soo/game20.html (Report)]
team1 =
team2 =
score = 10–8
points1 = (6 - 1 t, 1 g) Dale Shearer
(4 - 1 t) Bob Lindner
points2 = David Boyle (4 - 1 t)
Michael O'Connor (4 - 2 g)
stadium = Lang Park
attendance = 33,602
referee= Barry Gomersall
manofmatch= Allan Langer

The series decider at Lang Park was a classic Origin knife's-edge encounter that swung from one end of the field to the other. Queensland scored two brilliantly conceived tries to lead 10-8 at halftime and defied the Blues in a scoreless second half of incredible tension. Langer was a triumphant figure for Queensland and in his third Origin was named man of the match after playing the game of his life.

Exhibition match

bg = #eeeeee
date = August 6, 1987
report = [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/soo/game21.html (Report)]
team1 =
team2 =
score = 30–18
points1 = (4 - 1 t) Andrew Ettingshausen
(4 - 1 t) Mark McGaw
(4 - 1 t) Jonathan Docking
(14 - 1t, 5 g)Michael O'Connor
(4 - 1 t) Cliff Lyons
points2 = Tony Currie (4 - 1 t)
Gene Miles (4 - 1 t)
Dale Shearer (10 - 1 t, 3g)
stadium =Veterans Memorial Stadium, Long Beach, CA
attendance = 12,349
referee= Mick Stone
manofmatch= Peter Sterling

Later in the season an exhibition match was played at Long Beach, California. The game did not count toward the series, but the match retained State of Origin status and is included in the records and player appearance calculations.

It was billed as an historic occasion for the game and an opportunity for rugby league to grab a foothold in the United States. It was a bold endeavour, but in reality, the match failed to create the barest ripple on America's sporting consciousness. There was minimal press coverage of the game and disputes over whether a 12,500 crowd or less (some estimates say 7,000) were in attendance, with many tickets given away free.

The game itself lacked the passion and intensity of regular State of Origin matches. New South Wales won 30-18 and, notwithstanding an agreement between both the teams that the game would count only towards player statistics, a controversial change-of-heart on the eve of the match has seen it included in formal Origin match stats since. Queensland players have always claimed the match was nothing more than an exhibition, as they had been promised and as the QRL maintained throughout. To this day the Maroons argue that the result should not count in official records, but while the game did not count towards the 1987 series the Blues' victory does stand in the record books, primarily because NSW supporters want to be able to claim that it was this match that took them ahead of Queensland on games won for the first time in Origin history.


New South Wales



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

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