Australia

How other rookie-filled State of Origin teams have performed

QUEENSLAND, Game I, 2001

After their biggest defeat in Origin history capped off their 3-0 series loss the year before, Wayne Bennett returned as coach and brought a record 10 rookies with him.

With the likes of John Doyle and Carl Webb bolting into the team, the Maroons shocked NSW 34-16 in the series opener at Suncorp Stadium. Queensland lost Game II but won the series when Allan Langer returned from the English Super League to star in the decider.

QUEENSLAND, Game I, 1995

Destroyed by the Super League war, Queensland were forced to pick nine rookies and were expected to be easy pickings for NSW.

Upset: Billy Moore celebrates with his Queensland side after game I in 1995.

Upset: Billy Moore celebrates with his Queensland side after game I in 1995.

Photo: Craig Golding

But the Maroons' spirit shone through under rookie coach Paul Vautin, holding the Blues scoreless as a solitary penalty goal got them home 2-0 in the lowest- scoring Origin match. An almost unchanged team backed it up to win the series 3-0.

NSW, Game I, 1999

Queensland came from behind the previous year to claim the series, prompting the Blues to pick nine debutants. While a number had played in the Super League Origin series, NSW were still an inexperienced side for Game I.

Anthony Mundine scores a try in his first Origin in 1999.

Anthony Mundine scores a try in his first Origin in 1999.

Photo: Robb Cox

Anthony Mundine scored the Blues' only try but four Mat Rogers penalty shots and a field goal helped Queensland to victory. Two more debutants came in for Game II, which the Blues won, before the Maroons drew the decider to keep the Shield.

NSW, Game I, 1989

The departures of Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny and Wayne Pearce in short succession prompted a changing of the guard for NSW, as new coach Jack Gibson made 13 changes and picked eight rookies.

Thumped: Gavin Miller in 1989.

Thumped: Gavin Miller in 1989.

Photo: Action Photographics

Gavin Miller was recalled as captain after a five-year hiatus as a player, but it didn't end well for NSW as they were thumped 36-6. Seven more debuted across the series, but NSW were whitewashed 3-0 for a second successive year.

NSW, Game I, 2002

Embarrassed by Allan Langer's return in the 2001 decider, new coach Phil Gould trotted out eight debutants in 2002 and was rewarded with a 32-4 flogging of Queensland.

Strong debut: Brett Hodgson in 2002.

Strong debut: Brett Hodgson in 2002.

Photo: DIG

Rookie Brett Hodgson was most impressive, running a remarkable 374 metres and scoring a try, while Jamie Lyon and Timana Tahu also crossed. Queensland ended up drawing the series 1-1, but the Blues had found a side to win the next three series.

AAP

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