Which is the greatest ever Blues Origin team?
The Daily Telegraph’s Sports Editor-at-large Phil Rothfield believes Gal’s Drought Breakers are NSW’s greatest ever Origin team.
Buzz rates the 2014 Blues team led by Paul Gallen better than Turvey’s Trailblazers (1985-86), Laurie’s Legends (1992-94) and Joey and Bedsy’s Heroes (2003-05).
Is Buzz Rothfield right? Click here to read Buzz's thoughts.
BEST BLUES: THE FINAL FOUR
1985-86 era, led by Steve Mortimer
Under the coaching of Terry Fearnley and captaincy of Steve ‘Turvey’ Mortimer, the Blues of 1985 ended Queensland’s five-year domination of Origin to claim their first series win. The following year, coach Ron Willey guided New South Wales to the first series clean-sweep in State of Origin history. The Blues were dominant across 1985-86, winning five of the six games played. In both years, they claimed the series after winning the first two games.
1992-94 era, led by Laurie Daley
Under the coaching of two-time premiership-winning coach Phil Gould, the Blues won three consecutive series in 1992, 1993 and 1994. They were the first NSW side to achieve the feat at Origin level. Canberra’s 22-year-old five-eighth Laurie Daley was their captain; he remains the only Blues player to lead the state to three successive series wins. The Blues claimed 2-1 victories in all three series and came from a 1-0 deficit in 1994 to win after victories in Melbourne and Brisbane. A number of players emerged during this period and went on to glittering careers with the Blues including Paul Harragon, Tim Brasher, Paul McGregor, Dean Pay and Brett Mullins.
Joey and Bedsy’s Heroes
2003-05 era, led by Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus
For only the second time in the Blues’ Origin history, they won three consecutive series. The masterful Phil Gould, who had returned as coach in 2002, guided the team to back-to-back successes in 2003-04 before handing over to Ricky Stuart for the 2005 series. The Blues won the 2003 series inside two games before claiming victory in the 2004 decider. In the 2005 series, they came from 1-0 down to overcome an emerging Queensland outfit that included Billy Slater, Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith. Future Immortal Andrew Johns played a leading role in the 2003 and 2005 victories while Brad Fittler emerged from representative retirement to spearhead the Blues’ 2004 triumph. Johns captained the Blues in 2003 before hooker Danny Buderus took over in the 2004-05 series.
Gal’s Drought Breakers
2014 team, led by Paul Gallen
The Blues ended eight years of Queensland dominance with victories in the first two games of the series. The Maroons continued to field the nucleus of the team that had forged unprecedented success under the coaching of Mal Meninga since 2006. Led by skipper Paul Gallen, NSW won with an uncompromising defensive effort that restricted the Maroons to two tries in Game One and none in Game Two.
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