|1998 State of Origin series|
|Won by||Queensland (9th title)|
|Attendance||115,469 (ave. 38,490 per match)|
|Top points scorer(s)||Darren Lockyer (14)|
|Top try scorer(s)|| Walters, Langer, |
Brasher, McGregor (2)
The 1998 State of Origin series saw the 17th time that the annual three-game series between the Queensland and New South Wales representative rugby league football teams was contested entirely under 'state of origin' selection rules. The return of Super League-aligned stars to Origin following the end of the game's crippling civil war meant the stampeding Brisbane Broncos players were back - to the chagrin of the Blues. The series was notable for being the first in which no team won a game at home.
Friday, 22 May 1998
|New South Wales||23–24||Queensland|
|Rod Wishart (4 - 1t)
Tim Brasher (4 - 1t)
Laurie Daley (4 - 1t)
Brad Fittler (4 - 1t)
Steve Menzies (4 - 1t)
Andrew Johns (3 - 1g,1fg)
|(Report)||(8 - 4g) Darren Lockyer |
(4 - 1t) Kevin Walters
(4 - 1t) Steve Price
(4 - 1t) Allan Langer
(4 - 1t) Tonie Carroll
Game I was a classic Origin encounter with each side scrambling to gain ascendancy in front of a boisterous Sydney crowd. The Maroons capitalised on mistakes from their opposition to score twice early in the second half before the mercurial Brad Fittler crossed to regain the lead for New South Wales. When Steve Menzies scored close to full-time to give the Blues a 23-18 lead it seemed that they were heading for victory.
But with barely a minute remaining and Queensland stuck deep in their own territory, their five-eighth Kevin Walters produced the play of the series as he kicked ahead for replacement back Ben Ikin to regather. The Blues tried desperately to hold on for the few final tackles, but Walters destroyed their hopes by sending centre Tonie Carroll over alongside the posts. Darren Lockyer's conversion on debut after the siren gave Queensland a miracle 24-23 victory. It was a personal triumph for Walters coming only a few months after the death of his wife Kim.
Friday, 5 June 1998
|Queensland||10���26||New South Wales|
|Wendell Sailor (4 - 1t)
Matt Sing (4 - 1t)
Darren Lockyer (2 - 1g)
|(Report)||(8 - 2t) Paul McGregor |
(6 - 3g) Andrew Johns
(4 - 1t) Brad Fittler
(4 - 1t) Adam MacDougall
(4 - 1t) Tim Brasher
In Game II, after falling behind early to a Wendell Sailor try, the Blues took control in the volatile surroundings of Suncorp Stadium. New South Wales centre Paul McGregor, replacing Andrew Ettingshausen in the starting line-up, scored twice and Brad Fittler added a third to give the visitors a commanding 20-6 lead from which the Maroons never recovered.
Andrew Johns was superb during the Blues' onslaught while Laurie Daley set up the try that levelled the score following Sailor's third-minute opener. A Tim Brasher try shortly after the break ended any hopes of another come-from-behind Queensland win and the final 26-10 scoreline was a fair reflection of the Blues domination over their opposition.
Before the Game III return to the Sydney Football Stadium for the decider there was little warning of the problems the New South Wales team were about to encounter when they were flattened by injury and illness. Six players from the selected squad including props Paul Harragon and Rodney Howe and inspirational hooker Geoff Toovey were forced to withdraw prior to the game.
Friday, 19 June 1998
|New South Wales||4–19||Queensland|
|Ken McGuinness (4 - 1t)||(Report)||(4 - 1t) Kevin Walters |
(4- 1t) Ben Ikin
(4- 1t) Allan Langer
(4 - 2g) Darren Lockyer
(2 - 1g) Robbie O'Davis
(1 - 1fg) Jason Smith
Queensland emerged full of running, tries to Walters, dummying his way over and then Ikin, giving them a 12-4 lead before Allan Langer wrapped up the series with a late try. A Jason Smith field goal rounded out the impressive Queensland 19-4 win.
New South Wales squad
|Position||Game 1||Game 2||Game 3|
|Centre||Andrew Ettingshausen||Paul McGregor||Laurie Daley (c)|
|Five-Eighth||Laurie Daley (c)||Brad Fittler|
|Prop||Rodney Howe||Glenn Lazarus|
|Hooker||Geoff Toovey||Matthew Johns|
|Prop||Paul Harragon||Tony Butterfield|
|Second Row||Dean Pay||David Furner|
|Second Row||Nik Kosef||David Barnhill|
|Lock||Brad Fittler||Jim Dymock|
|Interchange||David Barnhill||Andrew Ettingshausen||Dean Pay|
|Interchange||Matthew Johns||Nik Kosef||Robbie Kearns|
|Interchange||Ken McGuinness||Glenn Lazarus||Ken McGuinness|
|Position||Game 1||Game 2||Game 3|
|Centre||Darren Smith||Ben Ikin|
|Wing||Matt Sing||Robbie O'Davis|
|Halfback||Allan Langer (c)|
|Hooker||Jason Hetherington||Jamie Goddard|
|Second Row||Wayne Bartrim||Brad Thorn||Gorden Tallis|
|Second Row||Jason Smith||Gorden Tallis||Jason Smith|
|Lock||Peter Ryan||Wayne Bartrim||Darren Smith|
|Interchange||Ben Ikin||Matt Sing|
|Interchange||Martin Lang||Peter Ryan|
|Interchange||Tonie Carroll||Andrew Gee|
- Barrow, Tim (6 July 2011). "State of Origin: The deciders". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- Harms, John (2005). The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story. Australia: University of Queensland Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-7022-3536-8.
- CNN/SI: "Langer leads way in what could be last game" - Friday June 19, 1998
- Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney