Game 1 of the 2022 State of Origin series kicks off on Wednesday night, and is set to be a cracker.

The battle between the NSW Blues and QLD Maroons never seems to disappoint... unless it's 2021 and you're a Queenslander. Nevertheless, there is a special kind of excitement that comes with the greatest rivalry in Australian sport.

We have Billy Slater up against Brad Fittler in the coaches box, Junior Paulo and Payne Haas facing off against Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Josh Papalii and that isn't even the best of the match-ups.

While every game has its features whether it's a decider in Game 3 or a pivotal Game 2, there is a special electricity that comes with the unknown of the first game in a series.

There have been some fantastic games in the 42 years the series has been running. Most of the greats, like James Tedesco scoring in the final seconds of 2019's Game 3, come in series-winning games, but what about series openers?

Here are ten of the greatest Game 1s in State of Origin History.


1. 1987 - "He's gonna rule a try!"

Allan Langer vs Peter Sterling. Gary Belcher vs Garry Jack. Brett Kenny vs Wally Lewis.

The names in this match are ludicrous and the ensuing game lived up to the players in it. As much as it seems ridiculous now, there were doubters that Langer was up for this level of the game.

Any doubts were quickly dismissed.

The game was set as Wally Lewis got the game started with a kick to Sterling who was promptly smashed in a hard tackle.

Sterling got up, but the Maroons' defence showed they weren't there to mess around. The Blues quickly gave a penalty away in their first defensive set, and the Maroons were on the attack.

While the tackles were tough, the game quickly started to open up and the attacks of each team flowed.  The Maroons opened the scoring with a penalty kick. Not too long later, the NSW Blues went in for the first try of the game.

NSW quickly went on with it, coming out to a 16-6 lead. Unfortunately, Queensland second halves have been a thing since the eighties. Of course, it was soon 16-all.

It is the next play that will forever be in the dreams of Blues fans and nightmares of Maroons. While it was controversial, I don't think there is any doubt it was correct.

As the Blues made a break down the sideline and passed it back in-field, the Maroons almost intercepted it, leaving the ball bouncing along the ground. As the ball raced towards the dead-ball line between a mix of arms and legs, Andrew Ettingshausen got there first and slammed the ball down.

With no 'bunker' or video ref, Mick Stone, living up to his family name, made the decision and awarded the try in front of a manic Queensland crowd.