2001 Rugby League State of Origin series

The 2001 State of Origin series was the 22nd annual Australian Rugby League State of Origin series between New South Wales and Queensland. Queensland stalwart coach Wayne Bennett made it a personal mission to regain the great loss of credibility suffered from the 2000 series whitewash and 40 point last game defeat and decided he wanted his old Maroon coaching job back after a two year sojourn.


Game One

In game I Queensland blooded no less than ten new players and Wayne Bennett gambled on the likes of Brisbane Broncos forward Carl Webb and North Queensland Cowboys John Buttigieg and John Doyle who were relative unknowns. But they each announced their representative arrival in dramatic style with a try each in the first game, won 34-16 by the Maroons in the last match played at the "old" Suncorp Stadium. The most spectacular was Webb's two minutes before half-time when he brushed off three defenders before powering his way across the line.

Game Two

In game II played before 70,000 at Telstra Stadium, Blues skipper Brad Fittler scored two tries in what was to be his last match for NSW on home soil and inspired his side to a 26-8 victory. Man of the match was Trent Barrett playing halfback for the first time due to injuries to Brett Kimmorley and Andrew Johns. Debutante Mark O'Meley was particularly impressive, setting up Fittler's first try after 53 minutes with a smashing run that sent defenders skittling.

Game Three

The lead up to game III was dominated by emotion regarding Brad Fittler's pending retirement from representative football after 29 Origin appearances. But with the series tied at one game apiece Queensland needed some special emotion of their own to avoid a loss. Maroon's veteran Allan Langer in his second English season with Warrington provided all the emotion Queensland needed , named in his famous No.7 jersey for the first time since leaving the NRL midway through the 1999 season. Coach Bennett undertook furtive negotiations with Langer and Warrington and the rumours were only confirmed after Langer had boarded a plane for the flight home, bound for his 31st career Origin appearance.

Despite NSW centre Ryan Girdler scoring the fastest try in Origin history after 39 seconds, Queensland took a 28-8 lead into the break with Langer heavily involved in three of the Maroons' first half tries. Alongside Darren Lockyer who created his own form of havoc, Langer tore New South Wales to shreds and capped his comeback in the 54th minute when he scored a trademark solo try from close range to condemn the Blues to a series deciding loss and Fittler to his own bittersweet representative farewell.


New South Wales

Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Mark Hughes
Wing Jamie Ainscough
Centre Michael De Vere Ryan Girdler
Centre Matt Gidley
Wing Adam MacDougall
Five-Eighth Brad Fittler (c)
Halfback Brett Kimmorley Trent Barrett Brett Kimmorley
Prop Jason Stevens
Hooker Luke Priddis
Prop Robbie Kearns Mark O'Meley
Second Row Bryan Fletcher
Second Row Nathan Hindmarsh Adam Muir
Lock Jason Croker Luke Ricketson Andrew Ryan
Interchange Trent Barrett Craig Gower
Interchange Michael Vella
Interchange Ben Kennedy Matt Adamson
Interchange Rodney Howe Andrew Ryan Steve Menzies
Coach Wayne Pearce


Position Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Fullback Darren Lockyer Darren Lockyer (c)
Wing Lote Tuqiri
Centre Darren Smith Chris Walker
Centre Paul Bowman
Wing Wendell Sailor
Five-Eighth Daniel Wagon
Halfback Paul Green Allan Langer
Prop Shane Webcke
Hooker Kevin Campion Paul Green
Prop John Buttigieg Russell Bawden John Buttigieg
Second Row Gorden Tallis (c) Dane Carlaw Brad Meyers
Second Row Petero Civoniceva
Lock Brad Meyers Darren Smith
Interchange Chris Walker Kevin Campion
Interchange Chris Beattie Carl Webb
Interchange Carl Webb Dane Carlaw
Interchange John Doyle Nathan Fien John Doyle
Coach Wayne Bennett


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

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