2003 Rugby League State of Origin series


2003 Rugby League State of Origin series

Infobox_State_of_Origin_series
year = 2003


count = 10th
imagesize = 150px
caption =
winners =
margin = 2-1
points = 110
attendance = 183682
top points scorer = (22 points)
top try scorer = ( 3 tries)
The 2003 State of Origin series was the 24th annual Australian Rugby League State of Origin series between New South Wales and Queensland. Queensland's return to a renovated Lang Park was soured when the player many league aficionados consider the best ever to lace on a pair of boots - Andrew Johns, returned to form for New South Wales in devastating fashion.

Blues coach Phil Gould sparked controversy before the series had even started when he slammed the form of his champion half-back Johns in his Sun-Herald column. Gould claimed that Johns had lost his "self-confidence" in an attack that caused outrage from all corners, including Johns himself, who had words with Gould at a pre-Origin briefing. But in the end it was psychology that worked, 2003 was Johns' best ever series performance.

__TOC__

Games

Game One

rugbyleaguebox
bg = #eeeeee
date = June 11, 2003
team2 =
score = 12–25
report = [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/soo/game67.html (Report)]
team1 =
points1 = Darren Lockyer (8 - 1t,2g)
Gorden Tallis (4 -1t)
points2 = (13 - 1t,4g,1fg) Andrew Johns
(8 - 2t) Anthony Minichiello |
(4 -1t) Craig Wing
stadium = Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
attendance = 52,429
referee= Bill Harrigan
manofmatch= Luke Bailey

In game I Andrew Johns spoiled what was supposed to be a party time for the Queenslanders, who returned to their spiritual home of Suncorp Stadium formerly known as Lang Park. The ground was quickly nicknamed the "Sand Pit" as its sandy surface was constantly shifting under the feet of players. Both Maroons centres Justin Hodges and Paul Bowman, were taken from the field with serious knee injuries which were later blamed on the shifting surface.

The Blues pack led by interchange prop Luke Bailey, hammered their Maroons counterparts and gave Johns plenty of room to weave his magic. Johns contributed 13 points to the tally while Anthony Minichiello scored a try double.

Game Two

rugbyleaguebox
bg = #eeeeee
date = June 25, 2003
team1 =
score = 27–4
report = [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/soo/game68.html (Report)]
team2 =
points1 = (8 - 2t) Timana Tahu
(7 - 3g,1fg) Andrew Johns
(4 - 1t) Ben Kennedy
(4 - 1t)Matthew Gidley
(4 - 1t) Anthony Minichiello
points2 = Michael Crocker (4 - 1t)
stadium = Telstra Stadium, Sydney
attendance = 79,132
referee= Bill Harrigan
manofmatch= Andrew Johns

pounced.

There was no greater example of the brilliant halfback's influence than the last minute before the break. Johns kicked for touch from a 20-metre restart, then after winning the ensuing scrum, hoisted a bomb high into the air which was contested before being batted back into his hands. Without a second thought and while on the run, he potted a 25-metre field goal with ease.

The final score was 27-4 to the Blues who remained unbeaten from seven matches on their home turf of Telstra Stadium.

Game Three

rugbyleaguebox
bg = #eeeeee
date = July 16, 2003
team2 =
score = 36–6
report = [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/soo/game69.html (Report)]
team1 =
points1 = Matt Sing (12 - 3t)
Brent Tate (8 - 2t)
Josh Hannay (8 - 4g)
Cameron Smith (4 - 1t)
Michael Crocker (4 - 1t)
points2 = (4 - 1t) Timana Tahu
(2 - 1g) Andrew Johns
stadium = Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
attendance = 52,130
referee= Bill Harrigan
manofmatch= Matt Sing

Game III restored some much needed pride for the Maroons who dominated the Blues in every facet of the game. Winger Matt Sing was superb, scoring three tries in a man-of-the match performance.

Queensland started with a new found zest and led 16-0 after just 17 minutes before strangling the Blues out of the contest. Johns was forced to accept the shield in front of an almost empty stadium after Queensland had completed a lap of honour. It was an anti-climactic end to what had been the gifted number seven's best ever series.

Teams

New South Wales

Queensland

2003 Series

ources

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

External links

* [http://www.sportsphotography.net/rugbyleague/2003/origin/index.html 2003 State of Origin at sportsphotography.net]


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