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Queensland rugby league team

Queensland Maroons
Badge of Queensland Maroons team
Nicknames Maroons
Cane Toads[1]
Governing body Queensland Rugby League
Head coach Mal Meninga
Captain Cameron Smith
Most caps Darren Lockyer & Cameron Smith (36)
Top try-scorer Greg Inglis (17)
Top point-scorer Johnathan Thurston (200)
Home stadium Suncorp Stadium (52,500)
First game
New South Wales 43–0 Queensland
First State of Origin game
Queensland 20–10 New South Wales
(Lang Park, Brisbane; 8 July 1980)
Biggest win
Queensland 52–6 New South Wales
(Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; 8 July 2015)
Biggest defeat
New South Wales 56–16 Queensland
(Stadium Australia, Sydney; 7 June 2000)

The Queensland rugby league team has represented the Australian state of Queensland in rugby league football since the sport's beginnings there in 1908. Nicknamed the "Maroons" after the colour of their jersey, the team plays three times a year against arch-rivals New South Wales in the State of Origin series. Captained by Cameron Smith and coached by Mal Meninga, Queensland, the team is administered by the Queensland Rugby League and plays all of its home matches at Brisbane's Lang Park (now known as Suncorp Stadium).

Since 1908 a Queensland representative rugby league team had been assembled from players based in the state to compete annually against New South Wales. The team used to play matches against other high-profile foreign and domestic touring teams, but has not played anyone other than New South Wales in several decades. From 1980 onwards, when Queensland was first allowed to select players of local origin even if they were currently at clubs outside its borders, the team's success rate against New South Wales improved dramatically. Until 1987 clubs from both the Brisbane Rugby League and the NSWRL provided players for the side. Maroons players have been chosen exclusively from clubs in the National Rugby League since Game III 2001 when Allan Langer was selected from Europe's Super League. Recently the team achieved a record-breaking eight successive State of Origin victories from 2006 to 2013 in what is widely regarded as one of the greatest achievements in world sporting history.


  • History 1
    • Residential era (1908-1981) 1.1
    • State of Origin era (1981 - present) 1.2
  • Colours and badge 2
    • Shirt sponsors and manufacturers 2.1
  • Players 3
    • Most recent squad 3.1
    • Team of the Century (1908–2007) 3.2
    • Captains 3.3
  • Coaches 4
  • Records 5
  • Queensland Residents rugby league team 6
  • Queensland Women's rugby league team 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Residential era (1908-1981)

Queensland had already been playing in their maroon jerseys each year against New South Wales in their sky blue before the split in rugby football between union and league took place. Queensland's captain, Mike Dore, left the rugby union establishment to play the new Northern Union brand of football in 1907 and his decision to switch codes influenced many other Queensland union players including his brother, to join the rugby league ranks. The first Queensland rugby league team ever formed, like the first New South Wales and Australian teams ever formed, was for playing the ground-breaking 1907-08 New Zealand rugby tourists, and was as follows:[2]

1. Arthur O'Brien, 5. William Evans, 6. William Abrahams, 7. Mick Dore
8. Jack Horan, 9. Robert Tubman, 10. William Hardcastle, 11. Vic Anderson, 12. Ernest Cartmill, 13. Jack Fihelly

Still some months away from having its own competition, when Queensland first played rugby league against New South Wales in 1908 they lost 43 – 0.[3] This set the precedent for much of interstate rugby league's early history in Australia. During the 1912 New Zealand rugby league tour of Australia, Queensland lost both its matches against the Kiwis in Brisbane. Again, Queensland played two matches against the Kiwis during the 1913 New Zealand rugby league tour of Australia and again the Maroons lost both.

1924 Queensland side – captain Jim Craig

New South Wales had won every match between the two states until 1922, when the Maroons, with Cyril Connell playing at halfback, achieved their maiden victory. This commenced Queensland's only golden period before the introduction of State of Origin. In 1925 Queensland toured New Zealand and played against the full New Zealand side.[4] The Queensland side was invited to tour ahead of the New South Wales side because Queensland was the more dominant of the two during this period.

During the 1951 French rugby league tour of Australia and New Zealand Queensland played one match against the successful France national rugby league team, a 19-all draw. As the twentieth century progressed, New South Wales proved to be the dominant team. Queensland did not win an interstate series against New South Wales until 1958. The powerful New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership attracted many Queenslanders south of the border, and the "residential" selection policy meant that the Maroons would often be disadvantaged against New South Wales teams containing many Queenslanders playing in the New South Wales club competition.

1949 Queensland side – captain Bill Tyquin

In the 1970s Queensland only won four matches, and it was decided that if New South Wales won the first two games of the 1980 series that there would be a "State of Origin" selection policy for the last game. This meant that selection would be based on the state a player made his senior debut in, not the state that he currently played in. Queensland's first truly representative team won the first State of Origin match 20–10 on 8 July 1980. After Queensland lost the first two games in 1981 the third match was again a State of Origin match. Queensland also won this game, and all subsequent series have been played under State of Origin selection criteria.

Queensland's overall record in interstate clashes between 1908 and 1981 (non-State of Origin matches) was 54 wins, 8 draws and 159 losses in 221 games. Between 1908 and 1979 Queensland also played matches against a number of touring Test teams.

Tour Matches
Opponent Games Played Games Won
Great Britain 16 5
France 4 3
South Africa 1 1

State of Origin era (1981 - present)

In the inaugural State of Origin match in 1980, Queensland surprised all in a commanding 20–10 win over New South Wales. Arthur Beetson and Chris Close were the stars for Queensland, but Kerry Boustead scored Queensland's first ever try. This saw the new State of Origin rules applied a fairer game, saw it again in 1981. In 1981, legendary captain Arthur Beetson was ready to play before injury ruled him out, so he became coach of the team, and would remain so for the next three years. It seemed that State of Origin might still be dominated by New South Wales with the Blues ahead 15–0, but a remarkable comeback by Queensland saw them defeat New South Wales 22–15 with young captain Wally Lewis and Chris Close the stars of the comeback win. This match gave rugby league officials the impetus to decide that 1982 should have 2 State of Origin matches and a decider if required.

In 1982, for the first time all three matches of the interstate series were played using 'origin' selection rules. New South Wales won their first State of Origin match in Game One, but this was not enough to stop Queensland winning the second and third games with Mal Meninga, Rod Morris and captain Wally Lewis the heroes for Queensland of the series. The next year New South Wales won the second game, but Queensland dominated the first and the decider winning the series with Wally Lewis being the saviour for Queensland.

At the end of the 1983 seasons in Qld and NSW, the Queensland team also toured Papua New Guinea and Great Britain. Their tour of Great Britain saw them play three matches. The first against Hull Kingston Rovers resulted in an 8-6 loss, though the Wally Lewis led Maroons then easily won their remaining matches against Wigan (40-2) and Leeds (58-2).

In 1984, Queensland won the first two games for the series, dominating the series, with Kerry Boustead and Wally Lewis the stars of the series, New South Wales won the final match.

In 1985, Queensland saw their first ever series loss to New South Wales, for the first time, New South Wales were dominate through the series. Queensland's poor performance could be seen as Arthur Beetson retiring as coach or New South Wales halfback Steve Mortimer in good form. Queensland lost the first two matches but won the third match. Under new coach, Wayne Bennett, the 1986 series saw Queensland play a lot better but the scoreboard didn't show, Queensland lost all 3 games, only by small margins for each game, but the fact was New South Wales had whitewashed Queensland.

In 1987, looking for redemption, Queensland lost the first game to New South Wales, but managed to win the last two games giving Wayne Bennett his first series win. Allan Langer debut in the 1987 series saw Queensland win their first series since 1984, Langer went on to play 34 games for Queensland. In the exhibition match fourth game of 1987 in the USA, Queensland couldn't manage to win. The Maroons also toured New Zealand in 1987.

In 1988, the introduction of Queensland-based clubs for the first grade competition Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast, saw more wealth of talent for Queensland. In 1988 and 1989 it was Allan Langer and Wally Lewis's formidable halves partnership that had them dominate both series winning all 6 matches and not letting New South Wales win. Wayne Bennett won the 1988 series while returning coach Arthur Beetson won the 1989 series. As a result, in 1989 a record-breaking twelve Queenslanders were selected to tour with the Australian national team.[5]

In 1990, the New South Wales team managed to win their first game since 1987, and going on to defeat the Queensland team 2–1 in the series, giving Queensland coach Arthur Beetson his first ever series loss with the team. In 1991, it was Queensland legend Wally Lewis, now known as the King, last series. With a new coach, Graham Lowe, Queensland won the first game, before New South Wales won the second. With Lewis's last game, the decider, the Queensland team managed to win the game by two points and give Lewis the perfect sendoff.

For the series 1992 to 1994 it seemed that Wally Lewis was sorely missed, losing a record three series in a row. With veteran Mal Meninga taking over as captain, Lowe continuing as coach, the Queensland team were unable to show any spark against New South Wales. They were able to win a game in each of the series in 1992, 1993, and 1994. The King Wally Lewis took over coaching for the Queensland team in 1993 and 1994, the QRL hoping he would revive some spark to the team.

In 1995, the Queensland team was noticeably hampered being unable to select players from the Super League teams, most notably the Brisbane Broncos. With new coach and former Queensland captain Paul Vautin, the Queensland team were apparently going to be belted by the New South Wales team. It was not to be. In one of the biggest upsets in Origin history, the baby Queensland team defied all betting odds and whitewashed the New South Wales team 3–0. In 1996, New South Wales got their revenge and whitewashed the Queensland team. In 1997, during the Super League War and the rival Super League Tri-series with another Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand representative teams. Queensland were unable to win the series ending Vautin's reign as coach.

In 1998, Queensland re-employed Wayne Bennett as coach of the team who only wanted a one-year stint at the team. With the Super League War over, Queensland was able to pick a great side again. Allan Langer returned in style in a man of the match appearance guiding the Queensland team to a close 24–23 win in the first game. New South Wales won the second, but Queensland dominated the third and won. With new coach and former Queensland player Gorden Tallis was sent from the field for dissent to referee Bill Harrigan in a 20–16 loss in Game One. Queensland lost Game Two 28–10 before suffering their worst ever State of Origin defeat 56–16 in Game Three to cap a 3–0 wipewish of the series.

In 2001, Wayne Bennett again took over after their humiliating 3–0 loss in 2000. Queensland won the first game decisively however injuries saw them lose the second game and those injuries were still there for Game Three. This saw coach Bennett take a huge risk, bringing out of retirement Allan Langer to make a miraculous comeback. Although some thought Langer couldn't rise to the challenge, the great halfback inspired Queensland to a win in the final game 40–14. In 2002, Langer again returned however Queensland were thumped in Game One 32–4. Queensland won Game Two 26–18 in spite of a horror debut by winger Justin Hodges who gifted New South Wales two tries via ingoal mistakes. The third game proved to be Langers final game, but a miraculous last minute try by back rower Dane Carlaw saw Queensland draw level with New South Wales 18-all. The game could have be won by Queensland if Lote Tuquri had converted the Carlaw try, but the conversion was wide thus resulting in the second drawn series in Origin history with Queensland retaining the shield.

The 2003 series, marked a period of New South Wales dominance at Origin. New South Wales won a hard fought first game 25–12 before disposing of Queensland 27–4 in Game Two. The Queensland team took their anger out by flogging New South Wales in the dead rubber third game 36–6. Queensland however could not stop New South Wales taking the 2004 series 2–1 even with new coach Michael Hagan, when Brad Fittler came out of representative retirement for New South Wales to help them defeat Queensland. Game One was notable for being the first State of Origin game to go into Golden Point extra time, with Shaun Timmins kicking the winning field goal for New South Wales to win 9–8. Queensland won Game Two 22–18 on the back of an incredible try to winger Billy Slater the game in which Fitter returned. New South Wales wouldn't be denied in Game Three, winning 36–14 on the back of an inspirational performance by Fittler.

The 2005 series again was not much better for Queensland in spite of a Game One win in Golden Point extra time due to an intercept try to Matthew Bowen off a wayward Brett Kimmorley pass. Queensland however failed to dominate the series losing the final two matches to lose again to New South Wales after halfback Andrew Johns made a memorable return for the final two games. Queensland's 2005 series loss marked their third straight series defeat to New South Wales.

As part of the 25 year celebrations in 2005, Queensland named 25 legends for each year before that.[6]

No. Position Player
SR Arthur Beetson
FB Gary Belcher
PR Martin Bella
WG Kerry Boustead
CE Chris Close
HK Greg Conescu
PR Greg Dowling
SR Trevor Gillmeister
CE Peter Jackson
HB Allan Langer
SR Gary Larson
FE Wally Lewis
No. Position Player
SR Bob Lindner
FB Darren Lockyer
CE Mal Meninga
CE Gene Miles
PR Rod Morris
WG Dale Shearer
WG Matt Sing
LK Darren Smith
SR Gorden Tallis
SR Paul Vautin
FE Kevin Walters
HK Steve Walters
PR Shane Webcke

In 2006, former Queensland great Mal Meninga took the helm of coach and he took a big risk in Game One to have 7 debutantes against a formidable New South Wales side. This showed in the opening 30 minutes where mistakes were made and New South Wales dominated on the scoreboard. A comeback in the second half wasn't enough to win, New South Wales getting home 17–16 on the back of a field goal in the final moments by halfback and last minute Blues replacement Brett Finch. This put coach Meninga and captain Darren Lockyer under intense criticism by New South Wales media. The second game however saw the fired up Queensland team defeat New South Wales easily 30–6. In the third and deciding game, Queensland found themselves down 14–4 with 9 minutes to go after some controversial refereeing decisions. However a miraculous comeback started by Johnathan Thurston and Brent Tate and an intercept try by Lockyer saw them steal the win and the series.

In 2007, Queensland were the bookies' favourites for the first time in a long time. Queensland were down 18–6 at half time but came back with 19 unanswered points to win the first game by a score of 25–18. Queensland went on to win the second game 10–6 and win the series. This was Queensland's first win in 12 attempts at Telstra Stadium.

In 2008, Queensland played without Darren Lockyer for the whole series and it showed in the first game in Sydney with Queensland losing 18–10. However, the return match in Brisbane saw Queensland return to form winning 30–0, equalling Queensland's biggest ever victory. The final game was again played at Telstra Stadium, with Queensland being down 10–8 at half time before coming back to win the game 16–10 leaving New South Wales pointless for the second half and on the wrong end of 3 successive series defeats.

The Maroons training in 2009.

The mid-season test against the Kiwis in 2009 saw a record-equalling ten Queensland representatives, including an all maroon backline and front row.[7]

In 2009, the Maroons became the first side to win four consecutive Origin series and were named sporting team of the year at the Queensland Sports Awards in December.[8] In 2010, the Maroons had their 5th consecutive series win becoming the first team to ever do so, whilst also winning the games in a 3–0 clean sweep, the first time Queensland had accomplished this since 1995. Billy Slater was named Man of the Series.

In 2011, the Maroons had their 6th consecutive series win becoming the only team to ever do so. Also winning game III 34–24 and the series 2–1 in front of a record home crowd at Suncorp Stadium. This was also their captain Darren Lockyer's final State of Origin game. Cameron Smith was named both Man of the Match and Series.

In 2012, Queensland won game III 21-20 by a field goal in front of a mostly Maroon crowd at Suncorp stadium, making 7 series wins in a row. The final score was attributed partly to the retirement of Petero Civoniceva. Johnathon Thurston was named Man of the Match and Nate Myles was awarded Man of the Series.

In 2013, Queensland took the series again, for the 8th time in succession, after winning the 3rd game at ANZ Stadium in Sydney 12-10. Brent Tate was awarded Man of the Match.

In 2014, Queensland were defeated in an upset at their home stadium in game 1 of the series, and subsequently lost the 2nd game in Sydney, ending their 8-year winning streak.

In 2015, Queensland reclaimed the State of Origin series, with victories in Game I and Game III, at ANZ Stadium and Suncorp Stadium respectively. Game III of the series set a number of State of Origin records, including most goals in a game by a team (9 goals), biggest winning margin (46 points) and highest ever attendance at Suncorp (52,500), with Cameron Smith making his 36th appearance for Queensland in the same match, drawing level with Darren Lockyer for the record of most appearances for Queensland.

Colours and badge

Former logo

The primary colour of Queensland Maroons is Maroon, which represents the state colour of Queensland. The secondary colour is Gold, with an additional contrasting colour of white.

The Maroons badge was created and used since the club's founding in 1908. It features a football set centrally in a stylised Q representing Queensland. Other badges have been used such as a stylised Q with a Kangaroo next to it.

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers

Period Kit manufacturer Major Sponsor Minor Sponsor Shorts Sponsor
2003–2014 Canterbury XXXX AAMI XXXX
2015- Canterbury XXXX Suncorp XXXX


While the Queensland rugby league team's players mostly come from Queensland, up until 1980 when residential selection criteria were still used, some of New South Wales' most prominent footballers, such as Dally Messenger and Clive Churchill, also played for the Maroons. Queensland's players are some of the most famous athletes Australia produces, with goal-kicking centre Mal Meninga being named the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 1990, the first rugby league player to ever do so.[9] Since the turn of the century Maroons players have become big name footballers not only in rugby league but in other codes as well. Rugby union's 2003 World Cup Final alone featured four former Queensland players: Brad Thorn playing for the All Blacks, and Mat Rogers, Lote Tuqiri and Wendell Sailor playing for the Wallabies. Former Maroons Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau were both recruited by the AFL to play Australian rules football[10][11][12] (and both also played professional rugby union).

Most recent squad

The Queensland Maroons squad for Game 3 of the 2015 State of Origin series:

Position Game Two
Fullback Greg Inglis
Wing Darius Boyd
Centre Will Chambers
Centre Justin Hodges
Wing Dane Gagai
Five-Eighth Johnathan Thurston
Halfback Cooper Cronk
Prop Matt Scott
Hooker Cameron Smith
Prop Nate Myles
Second Row Aidan Guerra
Second Row Sam Thaiday
Lock Corey Parker
Interchange Michael Morgan
Interchange Josh Papalii
Interchange Matt Gillett
Interchange Jacob Lillyman

Team of the Century (1908–2007)

In 2008, the centenary year of rugby league league in Australia, the Queensland Rugby League named their best ever 17, selected from all players from 1908–2007.[13]

No. Position Player
FB Darren Lockyer
WG Cecil Aynsley
CE Tom Gorman
CE Mal Meninga
WG Denis Flannery
FE Wally Lewis (c)
HB Allan Langer
PR Mick Madsen
HK Noel Kelly
No. Position Player
PR Duncan Hall
SR Brian Davies
SR Arthur Beetson
LK Bob Lindner
RE Jim Craig
RE Duncan Thompson
RE Gene Miles
RE Herb Steinohrt


A list of captains and coaches for the Maroons since State of Origin.

Player Occasions Games as Captain
Arthur Beetson 1 1980
Wally Lewis 30 1981–1987, Games 2 & 3 1988, 1989, Games 2 & 3 1990, 1991
Paul Vautin 2 Game 1 1988, Game 1 1990
Mal Meninga 9 1992–1994
Trevor Gillmeister 4 1995, Game 1 1996
Allan Langer 5 Games 2 & 3 1996, 1998
Adrian Lam 8 1997, Games 1 & 3 1999, 2000
Kevin Walters 1 Game 2 1999
Gorden Tallis 7 Game 1 2001, 2002, 2003
Darren Lockyer 22 Game 2 & 3 2001, Games 2 & 3 2004, 2005–2007, 2009–2011
Shane Webcke 1 Game 1 2004
Cameron Smith 15 2008, 2012-2015


Queensland has had a total of eight different coaches at State of Origin level, all of whom have played for the Maroons previously except for New Zealand's Graham Lowe, the only non-Australian to coach in State of Origin.

Coach Era
John MacDonald 1980
Arthur Beetson 1981–1984; 1989–1990
Des Morris 1985
Wayne Bennett 1986–1988; 1998; 2001–2003
Graham Lowe 1991–1992
Wally Lewis 1993–1994
Paul Vautin 1995–1997
Mark Murray 1999–2000
Michael Hagan 2004–2005
Mal Meninga 2006–


The most-capped Queensland State of Origin players are Darren Lockyer and Cameron Smith, with 36 caps apiece. The player with the most tries for Queensland in State of Origin history is Greg Inglis, with 17 tries. The player with the most points is Johnathan Thurston, with 200 points.

Queensland Residents rugby league team

Queensland Women's rugby league team

See also


  1. ^ Ritchie, Dean (2 September 2010). "Cane toads tell NSW to FOG off".  
  2. ^ "Queensland Representative Players".  
  3. ^ ARL (2008). "Australian Rugby Football League 2008 Annual Report" (PDF). Australian Rugby Football League Limited. p. 30. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  4. ^ Coffey and Wood The Kiwis: 100 Years of International Rugby League ISBN 1-86971-090-8
  5. ^ John MacDonald and Ian Arnold (29 June 1989). "Kangaroos fly the Maroon flag".  
  6. ^ "League names Origin greats". Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  7. ^ Steve Jancetic and Wayne Heming;  
  8. ^ deKroo, Karl (2009-12-04). "Wally Lewis says Maroons okay without Darren Lockyer". The Courier Mail (Australia: Queensland Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  9. ^ "In Profile - Mal Meninga".  
  10. ^ Paul Malone & Robert Craddock (2 June 2010). "AFL player revolt feared as Brendan Fevola, Simon Black question Israel Folau's huge pay day".  
  11. ^ Lienert, Sam (4 June 2010). "Demetriou quells disquiet on fat deals".  
  12. ^ Conn, Malcolm (28 August 2014). "NRL converts Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt were worth the risk, says Dave Matthews".  
  13. ^ "FOGS – Greatest Ever Teams". Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 

External links

  • Queensland rugby league team on Twitter
  • Queensland rugby league team on Facebook
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