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Roosters in Origin: From Tricolours to Blues and Maroons

June has arrived and with that, of course, means State of Origin is around the corner.

Over 45 players in Red, White and Blue have represented their state since Origin’s inception in 1980 – a feat few other clubs can boast.

Five Roosters have also had the honour of captaining their state as well – the second most of any Club – Paul Vautin, Brad Fittler, Adrian Lam and more recently, Boyd Cordner and James Tedesco.

With more than four decades of Origin matches to cover, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of each Roosters player to feature in every single Origin series, right from the start.

1980 – Kerry Boustead and John Lang (both QLD)

While it was Club Legend Arthur Beetson leading out the Maroons in the very first State of Origin match, the Roosters’ first representatives in the new concept were winger Kerry Boustead and hooker John Lang, with Boustead touching down in Queensland’s resounding 20-10 victory at Lang Park.

1981 – Terry Fahey (NSW) and Paul McCabe (QLD)

The Club’s first NSW representative was flying winger Terry Fahey, while Paul McCabe was one of just four representatives from the NSWRL to represent Queensland in their second consecutive win.

Origin Moments: Arthur Beetson Runs Out for Queensland

1982 – Royce Ayliffe (NSW), Terry Fahey (NSW) and Kerry Boustead (QLD)

In the first State of Origin series, Boustead’s Queensland once again took the title, with Fahey representing the Blues once again and Roosters Captain Royce Ayliffe making his debut for NSW.

1983 – Marty Gurr and Kevin Hastings (both NSW)

The 1983 series saw two debutants for the Blues, with Marty Gurr playing fullback from Game II onwards, while Kevin Hastings came from the interchange bench in Game III, but it was the Maroons who came away with the series.

1984 – N/A

One of the few series in history that saw no Roosters representatives feature, which saw Queensland complete a third consecutive series sweep.

1985 – John Ferguson (NSW)

Easts’ sole representative in 1985 was exciting winger John ‘Chicka’ Ferguson, who holds the distinction of being the first Roosters player to win a series with NSW. The flier featured in all three matches, playing an integral part in NSW’s first title.

1986 – Brad Tessman (QLD)

The 1986 series saw front rower Brad Tessman make his State of Origin debut for the Maroons as a replacement in Game II, before being promoted to the starting line up in the final match.

1987 – Trevor Gillmeister (QLD)

One of the most famous figures in Origin history, Trevor ‘The Axe’ Gillmeister made his first appearance in the Maroon jersey in 1987 – playing in all four matches including the infamous exhibition match in California in Queensland’s victory.

1988 – David Trewhella (NSW) and Trevor Gillmeister (QLD)

A pair of Roosters featured in the 1988 series, with NSW debutant David Trewhella and Gillmeister both making sole appearances as replacements.

1989 – David Trewhella (NSW) and Trevor Gillmeister (QLD)

For a second consecutive series, Trewhella and Gillmeister were Eastern Suburbs’ representatives in Origin, with the latter featuring in all three matches from the interchange bench while the former started at hooker in the final match for the Blues.

1990 – Paul Vautin and Trevor Gillmeister (both QLD)

Paul Vautin made history as the Club’s first-ever captain in the State of Origin arena in his first season in Bondi. Alongside him was Gillmeister, who ironically took over his position in the second row by the third match – but it was the Blues who would return as shield holders.

1991 – Craig Salvatori (NSW)

Fan favourite front rower Craig Salvatori made his first appearance in the Origin arena in the final match of the 1991 series from the interchange bench in Queensland’s seventh series win.

1992 – Craig Salvatori (NSW)

Salvatori’s continued form was rewarded the following year as he featured in all three State of Origin matches for the Blues coming from the interchange bench, scoring a crucial try in the opening match which eventually helped NSW regain the shield.

Origin Moments: Adrian Lam's Career in Maroon

1993 – Craig Salvatori (NSW)

Continuing form earned Salvatori a spot in the Blues’ side in Game I, once again from the interchange bench, but following suspension, it would be his sole appearance in the side.

1994 – N/A

The second and last series to have no representatives from the Club, but in the next few seasons, the Roosters’ turnaround in form would prove to be fruitful in the Origin arena.

1995 – Adrian Lam (QLD)

After a year without representatives for either state, Easts’ new halfback in Adrian Lam suddenly found himself in Fatty Vautin’s ‘Nevilles, scoring a try in the second game to help seal Queensland’s incredible series victory.

1996 – Brad Fittler (NSW), Matt Sing and Adrian Lam (both QLD)

With the arrival of Brad Fittler and Matt Sing, the Roosters were on a high during the early stages of the 1996 ARL season, and that transitioned into representative football. Captain Fittler ultimately won the series with an early field goal in Game III, with his halves partner Adrian Lam providing plenty of impact from the interchange bench for Queensland.

1997 – Matt Sing and Adrian Lam (both QLD)

Both of the Roosters’ representatives in Sing and Lam were tryscorers for the Maroons in the 1997 series, but their efforts were unable to bring the Queenslanders a result. Lam captained the Maroons for the first time, while Fittler was sidelined with a broken thumb.

1998 – Brad Fittler, David Barnhill (both NSW) and Matt Sing (QLD)

Fittler’s return for the Blues was timely, however, the stellar five-eighth was unable to guide them to glory, despite scoring twice throughout the series. New signing David Barnhill joined him in sky blue, while Matt Sing continued his run in the Maroon of Queensland.

Origin Moments: Fletcher's Famous Celebration

1999 – Brad Fittler, Bryan Fletcher, David Barnhill, Luke Ricketson (all NSW), Matt Sing and Adrian Lam (QLD)

There was certainly a Roosters flavour in the 1999 State of Origin series, with four Blues and two Maroons running around from Bondi. Both Brad Fittler and Adrian Lam captained their respective states at various points of the series, while local juniors Bryan Fletcher and Luke Ricketson made their long-awaited debuts for New South Wales in the first drawn series.

2000 – Brad Fittler, Bryan Fletcher (both NSW), Matt Sing and Adrian Lam (both QLD)

Fittler and Fletcher were on board for the Blues’ clean sweep of Queensland, which culminated in a 56-16 demolition in the final game – with Fletcher conjuring up the infamous ‘grenade’ try celebration. Lam featured for the Maroons for the final time, captaining in all three games.

2001 – Brad Fittler, Bryan Fletcher, Luke Ricketson (all NSW) and Paul Green (QLD)

Ricketson returned in Game II at lock, while Fittler and Fletcher continued their streak in sky blue. But it was new Rooster Paul Green who would have the last laugh, playing at halfback and hooker in the Maroons’ remarkable series win.

2002 – Luke Ricketson, Bryan Fletcher (both NSW), Justin Hodges and Chris Flannery (both QLD)

With Fittler retiring from representative football, Ricketson and Fletcher were the Roosters’ two Blues representatives, with both playing all three matches from lock and the interchange bench respectively. Youngsters Justin Hodges and Chris Flannery earned their respective debuts for Queensland, playing one match each in the second drawn series.

2003 – Anthony Minichiello, Craig Fitzgibbon, Luke Ricketson, Craig Wing (all NSW), Shannon Hegarty, Justin Hodges, Michael Crocker and Chris Flannery (all QLD)

An incredible eight Roosters were selected for the 2003 series, which saw Anthony Minichiello, Craig Fitzgibbon, Craig Wing, Shannon Hegarty and Michael Crocker embark on long careers in the Origin arena. Ricketson, Hodges and Flannery all reprised their roles from the year prior, with the dynamic Minichiello scoring a double on debut and helping guide NSW to a clean sweep.

Origin Moments: Fittler's Farewell Try

2004 – Anthony Minichiello, Brad Fittler, Brett Finch, Craig Fitzgibbon, Craig Wing (all NSW), Justin Hodges, Chris Flannery and Michael Crocker (all QLD)

Brad Fittler made a remarkable return to the Origin arena, famously scoring the last try in the series in his immortalised charge down. Craig Fitzgibbon was named Man of the Series, topping the point-scoring and holding the distinction of scoring a try in each of the three matches in another Blues clean sweep.

2005 – Anthony Minichiello, Craig Fitzgibbon, Craig Wing (all NSW), Michael Crocker (QLD)

For a second consecutive year, a Rooster claimed the Man of the Series award, with Anthony Minichiello awarded the Wally Lewis Medal in a performance that included a double in Game II. Fitzgibbon and Wing were instrumental for the Blues while Michael Crocker nailed down a starting spot for the Maroons in the second row.

2006 – Braith Anasta, Brett Finch, Craig Wing (all NSW) and Chris Flannery (QLD)

Halves pairing Braith Anasta and Brett Finch took the stage for the Blues, while Wing reumed his role as super sub. Injury forced Anthony Minichiello out of the side, while Finch was the hero in Game I with a field goal after being called in last minute, but it was Chris Flannery’s Maroons that took the series in a nail-biting finish.

2007 – Anthony Minichiello, Braith Anasta, Anthony Tupou (all NSW) and Nate Myles (QLD)

The three New South Welshman from Bondi featured in the first game of the series, with Minichiello once again succumbing to injury, while back rower Anthony Tupou made his debut for the Blues. New signing Nate Myles backed up his debut season for Queensland with three appearances in the Maroons’ victory.

2008 – Craig Fitzgibbon, Willie Mason, Anthony Tupou, Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce (all NSW) and Nate Myles (QLD)

Craig Fitzgibbon made his return to the Origin arena alongside new addition to the Club in Willie Mason. Tupou featured in all three matches from the interchange, while young gun halfback Mitchell Pearce’s representative career began alongside Anasta in Game III. Nate Myles forced himself into Queensland’s starting side in their third consecutive victory.

2009 – Nate Myles (QLD)

For the first time since 1997, no Roosters represented New South Wales. That might have been for the best considering Nate Myles’ Queensland side won the series in the first two matches as they made history with a fourth successive title.

Origin Moments: Minichiello Scores in His Return Match

2010 – Mitchell Pearce (NSW) and Nate Myles (QLD

The Tricolours’ resurgence in 2010 saw Pearce back in sky blue from Game II onwards, but Myles’ Maroons completed a clean sweep in one of the most dominant Origin series from a side.

2011 – Anthony Minichiello, Mitchell Pearce (NSW) and Nate Myles (QLD)

Game II saw Anthony Minichiello back on State duties for the first time since 2007 after a horror run of injuries, while Pearce played all three matches for the first time in his Origin career. A late try to ‘Mini’ in his return match tied up the series, but it was the Maroons dominating once again in the final.

2012 – Mitchell Pearce (NSW)

Not since 1993 had the Roosters not provided a Queensland representative, with Mitchell Pearce as the Club’s sole rep for the 2012 series. Partnering former teammate Todd Carney in the halves, Pearce guided the Blues to a decider, who were ultimately pipped by a single point.

2013 – Michael Jennings, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce and Boyd Cordner (all NSW)

A quartet of Roosters featured for the Blues in 2013 as Trent Robinson’s men surged up the NRL ladder. Halves James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce featured together in all three matches as did Michael Jennings, while future Captain Boyd Cordner debuted in the final match.

2014 – Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou, Boyd Cordner (all NSW), Aidan Guerra (QLD)

In one of the most intense series to date, Jennings and Cordner alongside towering winger Daniel Tupou helped the Blues break their eight-year drought in an emphatic 2-1 series victory. Aidan Guerra was rewarded for his Club form, scoring a try in Queensland’s only win.

Origin Moments: Tedesco's Series-Winning Tackle

2015 – Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou, Mitchell Pearce, Boyd Cordner (all NSW), Aidan Guerra (QLD)

Jennings, Pearce and Cordner all made three appearances for the Blues in 2015, but it was Guerra’s Maroons taking home the series with a record-breaking victory in Game III, which saw the powerful second rower touch down in the 52-6 victory at Suncorp Stadium.

2016 – Blake Ferguson, Boyd Cordner (both NSW) and Aidan Guerra (QLD)

Winger Blake Ferguson made an impression in his first Origin series, playing all three matches, while Cordner nailed down a starting spot, scoring the sole try in the opening match for the Blues. In a much closer series, the Maroons clinched victory in Game II.

Origin Moments: Cordner's Post Series Speech

2017 – Blake Ferguson, Mitchell Pearce, Boyd Cordner (all NSW), Dylan Napa and Aidan Guerra (both QLD)

Cordner’s rapid rise continued as he took over captaincy duties for the Blues, with Pearce, Ferguson and Guerra all returning to the arena. Young front rower Dylan Napa made an impression in his debut series, starting in all three matches as Queensland claimed another title.

2018 – James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Boyd Cordner (all NSW) and Dylan Napa (QLD)

With Brad Fittler holding the clipboard, the Blues made a resounding comeback to regain the Origin Shield. There was a distinct influence of Roosters with new signing James Tedesco and debutant Latrell Mitchell dominating with two tries apiece in the series, while Cordner lifted the shield for the first time.

Origin Moments: Friend Seals it for Queensland

2019 – James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Boyd Cordner, Angus Crichton (all NSW)

New arrival Angus Crichton and Latrell Mitchell both featured in Game I of the 2019 series, however, it was Tedesco and Cordner who played the entire series throughout. After a shock first-up loss, the Blues turned around in remarkable fashion, with Man of the Series Tedesco scoring an 80th minute special to seal the series.

2020 – James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Luke Keary, Boyd Cordner, Angus Crichton (all NSW), Jake Friend and Lindsay Collins (both QLD)

With the most Origin representatives since 2004, the back-to-back champions saw Daniel Tupou recalled, Luke Keary debut, Angus Crichton retain a starting position and both Jake Friend and Lindsay Collins making their first appearances for Queensland. In one of the greatest upsets in Origin history, the under-fire Maroons upset their highly favoured opponents, highlighted by Ron McAuliffe Medallist Friend running the ball out at fulltime of Game III.

2021 – James Tedesco, Angus Crichton (both NSW)

With Friend and Cordner retiring and both Collins and Keary on the sidelines, James Tedesco and Angus Crichton were the Club’s sole reps in 2021. That mattered little though as Tedesco, now the Blues’ skipper, led his side to a dominant series victory, which was sealed in a 26-0 drubbing in Game II following a first up 50-6 thumping.

Origin Moments: Tedesco Lifts the Shield in 2021

NSW Blues Representatives  – 28 (1980-present)

Braith Anasta, Royce Ayliffe, David Barnhill, Boyd Cordner, Angus Crichton, Terry Fahey, Blake Ferguson, John Ferguson, Brett Finch, Brad Fittler, Craig Fitzgibbon, Bryan Fletcher, Marty Gurr, Kevin Hastings, Michael Jennings, Luke Keary, James Maloney, Willie Mason, Anthony Minichiello, Latrell Mitchell, Mitchell Pearce, Luke Ricketson, Craig Salvatori, James Tedesco, David Trewhella, Anthony Tupou, Daniel Tupou, Craig Wing

QLD Maroons Representatives – 19 (1980-present)

Kerry Boustead, Dave Brown, Lindsay Collins, Michael Crocker, Chris Flannery, Jake Friend, Trevor Gillmeister, Paul Green, Aidan Guerra, Shannon Hegarty, Justin Hodges, Adrian Lam, John Lang, Paul McCabe, Nate Myles, Dylan Napa, Matt Sing, Brad Tessman, Paul Vautin

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.