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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Origin 2011: History against Lockyer with Final Origin at Lang Park

History against Lockyer with Final Origin at Lang Park
By W D Nicolson, July 5, 2011

As Darren Lockyer approaches his last State of Origin game on Wednesday Night, wdnicolson.com looks back on the ‘Final Origins’ of some of the Origin arena’s greatest players to see if the odds of a fairy-tale are in the Queensland champion’s favour.

Below is a list compiling the Final Origins of 25 Great Origin Players.

Given injury cut short many Origin careers, the list includes those players who (because of injury/age/form) won or lost what ended up being their last Origin game, as well as those players who were retiring entering their last Origin game.

The selection of this 25 was done before the statistics were compiled – so there is no pick and choosing to satisfy the end statistics – but they do make for interesting reading.

Before looking at the stats - ask yourself - how have past champion Origin players finished their careers in the Maroon or Blue?

And how will Darren Lockyer's Final Origin turn out?

Origin Legends… 
Who was sent out a Winner or a Loser?
Stats sourced from RugbyLeagueProject.com but unique statistics are created from base statistics.

Arthur BEETSON, 1 Game for Queensland 1980.
WON his Final State of Origin 20-18 at Lang Park in Game 1, 1980. (QLD Won Series 1-0)
Beetson would withdraw from the 1981 match due to injury.

Bradley CLYDE, 12 Games for New South Wales 1989-1994.
WON his Final State of Origin 27-12 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1994 (NSW Won Series 2-1)
Clyde would withdraw from a match in 1999 due to injury.

Peter STERLING, 13 Games for New South Wales 1981-1988.
LOST his Final State of Origin 16-6 at Lang Park in Game 2, 1988. (NSW Lost Series 3-0)

Ricky STUART, 14 Games for New South Wales 1990-1994.
WON his Final State of Origin 27-12 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1994. (NSW Won Series 2-1)

Wayne PEARCE, 15 Games for New South Wales 1983-1988.
LOST his Final State of Origin 38-22 at Sydney Football Stadium in Game 3, 1988 (NSW Lost Series 3-0)

Gary BELCHER, 16 Games for Queensland 1986-1993.
LOST his Final State of Origin 14-10 at Lang Park in Game 1, 1993 (QLD Lost Series 2-1)

Brett KENNY, 16 Games for New South Wales 1982-1987.
LOST his Final State of Origin 10-8 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1987. (NSW Lost Series 2-1)

Jason SMITH, 16 Games for Queensland 1994-2000.
LOST his Final State of Origin 28-10 at Lang Park in Game 2, 2000. (QLD Lost Series 3-0)

Gorden TALLIS, 17 Games for Queensland 1994-2003.
WON his Final State of Origin 36-6 at Lang Park in Game 3, 2003. (QLD Lost Series 2-1)

Benny ELIAS, 19 Games for New South Wales 1985-1994.
WON his Final State of Origin 27-12 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1994. (NSW Won Series 2-1)

Glenn LAZARUS, 19 Games for New South Wales 1989-1999.
LOST his Final State of Origin 9-8 at Lang Park in Game 1, 1999. (Series Drawn 1-1, QLD retained Shield as 1998 Holders)

Gene MILES, 19 Games for Queensland 1982-1989.
WON his Final State of Origin 36-16 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1989. (QLD Won Series 3-0)

Paul HARRAGON, 20 Games for New South Wales 1992-1998.
WON his Final State of Origin 26-10 at Lang Park in Game 2, 1998. (NSW Lost Series 2-1)

Trevor GILLMEISTER, 22 Games for Queensland 1987-1996.
LOST his Final State of Origin 14-6 at Lang Park in Game 1, 1996. (QLD Lost Series 3-0)

Paul VAUTIN, 22 Games for Queensland 1982-1990.
LOST his Final State of Origin 8-0 at Sydney Football Stadium in Game 1, 1990. (QLD Lost Series 2-1)

Laurie DALEY, 23 Games for New South Wales 1989-1999.
DREW his Final State of Origin 10-10 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1999 (Series Drawn 1-1, QLD retained Shield as 1998 Holders)

Andrew JOHNS, 23 Games for New South Wales 1995-2005.
WON his Final State of Origin 32-10 at Lang Park in Game 3, 2005 (NSW Won Series 2-1)

Bob LINDNER, 25 Games for Queensland 1984-1993.
WON his Final State of Origin 24-12 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1993. (QLD Lost Series 2-1)

Dale SHEARER, 26 Games for Queensland 1985-1996.
LOST his Final State of Origin 15-14 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1996. (QLD Lost Series 3-0)

Andrew ETTINGSHAUSEN, 27 Games for New South Wales 1987-1998.
WON his Final State of Origin 26-10 at Lang Park in Game 2, 1998. (NSW Lost Series 2-1)

Steven PRICE, 28 Games for Queensland 1998-2009.
LOST his Final State of Origin 28-16 at Lang Park in Game 3, 2009. (QLD Won Series 2-1)

Brad FITTLER, 31 Games for New South Wales 1990-2004.
WON his Final State of Origin 36-14 at Stadium Australia in Game 3, 2004. (NSW Won Series 2-1)

Wally LEWIS, 31 Games for Queensland 1980-1991.
WON his Final State of Origin 14-12 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1991. (QLD Won Series 2-1)

Allan LANGER, 34 Games for Queensland 1987-2002.
DREW his Final State of Origin 18-18 at Stadium Australia in Game 3, 2002. (Series Drawn 1-1, QLD retained Shield as 2001 Holders)

Mal MENINGA, 32 Games for Queensland 1980-1994.
LOST his Final State of Origin 27-12 at Lang Park in Game 3, 1994. (QLD Lost Series 2-1)

Darren LOCKYER, 36 Games for Queensland 1998-2011
TBA Result of his Final State of Origin at Lang Park to be decided in Game 3, 2011. (Series Tied 1-1)

Note: There is strong mail that Petero Civoniceva will also retire following his 30th Origin for Queensland. Once he retires he would be added to this cross-section of Origin Legends.

NOT The Footy Show Episode 71
Origin 3 Preview Show - July 05, 2011.

Right Click Save Target As This Link if you don't have iTunes.

BREAKING DOWN THE STATS
The statistics from this sample of 25 players (Lockyer is the 26th) makes for interesting reading when it comes to ‘Final Origins’. (Note the below statistics apply ONLY to these 25 Players)

Firstly it seems that if you are going to retire, it might as well be at Lang Park.

Meninga lost his Final Origin at Lang Park in 1994...
Lewis won his Final Origin in 1991...
How will Darren Lockyer finish in 2011?
Of the 25 players profiled here, 21 played their Final Origin match at ‘The Cauldron’ including Origin Greats Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga and come Wednesday Night - Darren Lockyer.

The overall record from the 21 ‘Final’ Games at Lang Park is fairly even, as the player finishing up has done so as a winner 11 times, lost 9 times and drawn once (11-9-1). With the Series on the line players are 7-5-1.

But the statistics skew if you are a Cane Toad or a Cockroach at Lang Park.

Eleven Queensland players playing their Final Origin at Lang Park have 5 Wins, 6 Losses and 0 Draws (5-6-0). With the Series on the line in the game, Maroons players are 3-3-0.

Ten New South Wales players playing their Final Origin at Lang Park have 6 Wins, 3 Losses and 1 Draw (6-3-1). With the Series on the line in the game, Blues players are 4-2-1.

The four other profiled players played their Final Origins at either the Sydney Football Stadium or Stadium Australia. Only one went out a winner (Brad Fittler in 2004), two lost (Vautin in 1990 and Pearce in 1988) and one drew his final game (Langer in 2002). None of the 25 profiled players lost a series deciding game in Sydney (Fittler won in 2004, while Langer tied in 2002.)

Only Gene Miles has ended his Origin career with a clean sweep of wins in 1989, while Wayne Pearce was swept in in his final series in 1988.

The overall stats say that in the 25 ‘Final Origins’ the player has finished a winner 12 times, lost 11 times and drew twice. From a Series Deciding Game standpoint the players are 8-5-2.

What the stats find is that June 20th, 1994 was the day to call it a day in the Origin arena.

And of course this match was played at Lang Park.

Benny Elias won his Final Origin match
but he wasn't the only star to bow out in 1994.
State of Origin Game 3 in 1994... proved to be the last game of Origin for star New South Welshmen Ricky Stuart, Bradley Clyde, Paul Sironen, Benny Elias, Ian Roberts (although he would later play one ‘Origin’ for NSW in Super League in 1997) and the great Queenslander Mal Meninga.
And while not in the same star class – that match would be the last Origin game for Chris Johns, Kerrod Walters and 1994 Queensland bolter Darren Fritz.
While not related to Final Origins, a future Queensland legend Jason Smith also debuted in that very match.

So with just over 24 hours to go until State of Origin 3 for 2011 kicks-off – again at Lang Park – Darren Lockyer will pull on the Queensland jersey for the 36th and final time.

While the Maroons are on the cusp of a SIXTH straight Series win, Origin History is against the chances of Darren Lockyer going out a winner as a Queenslander at Lang Park. A Game 3 win would only bring retiring Queenslanders to a 6-6-0 record (or at a .500 winning percentage) but a Series victory would see Queensland players edge slightly in front at 4-3-0 at Lang Park.

In fact the odds would be far better if he were a New South Welshman playing his final game there (NSW players are 6-3-1 in Final Origins, and 4-2-1 in Series Deciders at Lang Park). So why the Blues haven’t dragged a Blues legend out of retirement to play just one more game at ‘The Cauldron’ (so history can repeat itself and a Cockroach exits Lang Park as a winner) is something they need to rectify… oh wait Anthony Minichiello fits the bill – smart stuff Ricky Stuart, way ahead  of us.

But win, lose or draw – Darren Lockyer is a champion in the Game of Rugby League.

And we are all privileged to have watched his career at any stage, even this… the end.


Is this Darren Lockyer's finest Origin Moment? 
After all this try in Game 3 of the 2006 Origin Series ended NSW's series winning streak at three and started the Queensland dominance that current stands at five Series in a row.
What are your memories from Final Origins? 

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