Tommy Raudonikis and State of Origin go hand-in-hand; he is the heart and soul of New South Wales, and is one of the rare outgoing characters that the game of Rugby League needs.
His passion for the sky blue jumper is undeniable, having represented NSW as a halfback from 1971, all the way up until the first official State of Origin match in 1980, where he was the captain.
No matter what any other player in the entire future game achieves, Raudonikis will always be the first ever NSW State of Origin captain, and is also a part of the NSW Sporting Hall of Fame for his fantastic achievements.
He coached the Origin side in 1997 and 1998, and that was where he entered Origin folklore with his famous “Cattledog” call, in which the NSW players would respond to the call when a scrum was packed by throwing punches and eventually sparking an all-in brawl.
In Rugby League’s centenary year of 2008, Raudonikis was named in the list of Australia’s 100 Greatest Players, and in the same year was one of six members inducted into the Western Suburbs Hall of Fame.
While the game has certainly changed since the days of Raudonikis, the raw passion and pride he brings to the state of NSW will always be remembered, recognised, and welcomed.
Farewell one of our greatest Origin captains, Paul Gallen, by being a part of The Star-backed Blatchys Blues for Origin III. Click here to purchase tickets and to secure a seat to witness history. Don’t forget, for all the latest on the VB Blues and State of Origin, download the official NSWRL app and make www.NSWRL.com.au your homepage.