While the days of the “herdsman” cry are over with all the melee interrupting play, this year’s State of Origin series should have a little more spark.
As part of the NRL’s overhaul of the match review system, which has seen grading protocols expanded to include fines for Grade 1 and 2 offences, players are expected to test the limits when opening this evening at the Accor stadium.
The NRL issued a statement ahead of the first match confirming further changes to the judicial code in the hope that penalties imposed in representative matches will not handicap NRL teams.
LIVE UPDATES: Original State Game 1
READ MORE: Origin ‘surprise’ clouds loyal coach NSW
READ MORE: Original condition ref waste Bunker ‘myth’
The adjustment will see more infractions receive fines as opposed to suspensions in State of Origin and NRL Finals matches.
“Under the reforms, players participating in representative matches will be fined for a greater number of first and second tier offenses than in the Telstra NRL premiership,” the NRL said in a statement.
“Fines for infractions will be calculated as a percentage of the player’s representative match payout, with each player holding a separate ‘representative criminal record’ which resets annually.
“In addition, the annual All-Stars game and other test games will be officially recognized as representative games under the Judicial Code, allowing players who have been selected, or who can establish the likelihood of their selection, to serve suspensions during these matches,” the said NRL said.
“The changes will take effect upon the start of the Ampol State of Origin 2022 series.”
Watch State of Origin exclusively live and free on Channel 9 and 9Now.
When Payne Haas and Maroons forward Tino Fa’asuamaleaui threw punches at each other and found themselves fined in Game 2 of the 2020 series, both men were fined $700 – and it was under the old rules, which rarely resulted in player suspensions.
During pre-release media duties, players were asked if the new NRL edict meant players could be more aggressive as there was less chance of them being suspended for club games.
“You never want to lose money, do you? NSW hooker Damien Cook said before adding: “But some players would be happy not to miss a club game and pay to get away with it.”
FIXING THE 2022 SERIES
Origin I: Wednesday, June 8, kick-off time 8:10 p.m. AEST (QLD, NSW, Victoria) – Accor Stadium, Sydney
Origin II: Sunday, June 26, kick-off time 7:50 p.m. AEST (QLD, NSW, Victoria) – Optus Stadium, Perth
Origin III: Wednesday July 13, kick-off time 8:10 p.m. AEST (NSW, QLD, Victoria) – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
MATCH I TICKETS
Tickets for the first match and the entire series can be purchased through the NRL’s authorized ticketing partner, TICKETEK.
Tickets for the first game start from $45.00
HOW TO WATCH
The first game and the entire series will be live and exclusive on Nine.
Coverage of the first match will begin at 7 p.m. (AEST) and end with a post-match show until 11 p.m. You can also stream the match for free on 9Now.
You can also follow the action with Wide World of Sports’ Match Center as well as the Live Blog, with expert advice and live reactions from Nine’s NRL commentators.
TEAMS FOR ORIGIN I
** Final teams will be confirmed one hour before kick-off
Blues: 1. James Tedesco 2. Brian To’o 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Jack Wighton 5. Daniel Tupou 6. Jarome Luai seven. Nathan Clear 8. Payne Haas 9. Damian Cook ten. Paolo junior 11. Cameron Murray 12. Tariq Sims 13. isaah yeo 14. Stephen Crichton 15. Liam Martin 16. Reagan Campbell Gillard 17. Ryan Matterson 18. Nicho Hynes 19. Tyson Frizell 20. Jacob Saifiti 21. Joseph Suali 22. Apisai Koroisau
Click here for more information on team selection
Chestnuts: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Selwyn Cobbo 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Dane Gagai 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster seven. Daly Cherry Evans 8. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 9. Ben Hunt ten. Josh Papali’i 11. Kurt Capwell 12. Felise Kaufusi 13. Ruben Cotter 14. Harry Grant 15. Lindsay Collins 16. Patrick Carrigan 17. Jeremiah Nanai 18. Thomas Deden 19. Jai Arrow 20. Thomas Fleger 21. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 22. Murray Taulagi
Coach: Billy Slater
Click here for more information on team selection
ORIGIN I OFFICIAL MATCH
Ashley Klein will be the head referee on the field for the ninth time in her career.
The two linesmen are Phil Henderson and David Munro, while Grant Atkins will take charge as the Bunker’s main official.
ODDS (courtesy of Sportsbet)
Origin I: Blues $1.60; Chestnuts $2.35
2021 STATE OF ORIGIN RESULTS
Origin I: NSW 50 d QLD 6
Origin II: NSW 26 d QLD 0
Origin III: QLD 20d NSW 18
Result of the series: New South Wales 2-1
The New South Wales Blues will again enter the series opener as favorites having won three of the last four Origin Series under coach Brad Fittler.
But all signs point to this year’s series being one of the most competitive in recent times, with the Blues far from confident of maintaining dominance.
Fittler’s side will take the field for the opener without defending medal winner Dally M and center Tom Trbojevic, who was ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury, while opposite center Latrell Mitchell is out for the series opener with a hamstring injury.
Those injuries will see debutant Kotoni Staggs and 2021 Dally M Medal winner Jack Wighton shoulder the responsibility of filling the void in the centres.
While Wighton is a former Dally M winner at five-eighths, his effectiveness as an original center continues to leave question marks for NRL pundits, after he and Eels full-back Clint Gutherson failed. failed to live up to expectations in the Blues’ 2020 losing streak filling those positions.
Brad Fittler speaks after naming his Blues team for Game 1
Meanwhile, it’s a new era for the Maroons under former star and new coach Billy Slater, who this year succeeds former Cowboys premiership winner Paul Green.
Slater made sweeping changes to last year’s losing team.
The former Maroons fullback named four starters in the 1-17 jerseys, including Broncos pair Selwyn Cobbo and Patrick Carrigan, as well as Cowboys Reuben Cotter and Jeremiah Nanai.
Cobbo and Nanai, both 19, will make their Origin debuts with less than 20 NRL games under their belt.
The pair have arguably been the most exciting young stars in the competition this season.
Cobbo, who spent this year on the wing of the Broncos, has scored eight tries in his last four games.
Nanai, meanwhile, has been a try-scoring machine for the Cowboys with 10-12 appearances this year.
For a daily dose of the best news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by by clicking here!
The best rugby league players to never appear in State of Origin, including Test reps