State of Origin gets underway in 2019 on Wednesday, June 5, in what will be the 40th year that the concept has been taking place. One-off Origin games were played in 1980 and 1981 before adopting the traditional 3 game series from 1982.
Few contests in the world have as much talk about statistics surrounding results as State of Origin though, given how close the contests typically tend to be.
We’ll hear about Queensland’s dominance in recent times, if we’re lucky, we may even be reminded of the ultimate dominance of New South Wales for 70 odd years prior to Origin and how significant that dominance was in building the oft-mentioned “Queenslander spirit and passion.”
But despite the closeness of the contest and all the talk of spirit and passion, there are some statistics that are quite overwhelming that just cannot be ignored, but have yet to be mentioned.
Until now that is.
Game I of the 2019 State of Origin series will take place at Suncorp Stadium. We’ve had 21 Game I matches played at Suncorp Stadium, with Queensland winning 11 and New South Wales 10. The last series openers played at Suncorp have been won by the Blues:
2014 – New South Wales won 12-8
2017 – New South Wales won 28-4
The Maroons last victory at home in Game I was:
2011 – Queensland won 16-12
Of the 11 times Queensland won at home in Game I, two were the first two games in 1980 and 1981, which they won. The remaining 9 saw them go on to win the series on 8 occasions. Only the 2005 series, where they won 24-20 in Game I at Suncorp, saw them lose the series.
For New South Wales, 10 of their wins at Suncorp in Game I has contributed to them winning 7 series.
Winning at Suncorp in Game I is clearly a huge contributor to series success for both sides. This is quite a telling stat. But it’s not the only one.
On 80 of the 103 occasions where a team has lead an Origin game at half-time, they have gone on to win the match. That’s a 77.67% chance of winning the game after leading at the break. Queensland has lead at half time on 49 occasions and won 41 times or 83.67% of the time. New South Wales has lead 54 times and went on to win 39 of those games, at 72.22%.
Teams leading at halftime at Suncorp have gone on to win the match on 82.35% of the time and to drill down even further, teams leading at halftime at Suncorp in Game 1 have won 18 of 21 matches, or 85.71%.
These stats combine to tell us that the opening 40 minutes of the opening State of Origin game this year could very well determine who will not only win the game, but also the series.
Data courtesy of my website Rugby League Project
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