Top 13 players to have never played in State of Origin

Zach Holland

The bitter sporting rivalry between New South Wales and Queensland has seen some of the game’s most memorable talent take to the field.

However, there have been those who have found themselves rather unlucky to have never donned a jersey for either the Blues or Maroons, so we taken a look at 13 retired players who have never made an appearance in the Origin arena.

Michael Luck (Queensland)

The former North Queensland and New Zealand Warriors enforcer was a tough and aggressive competitor throughout the 2000s.

The barnstorming back-rower’s work ethic in both attack and defence was hardly questioned and back in 2009, he made a record breaking 74 tackles in a game against Melbourne. In 2001, he was picked for the inaugural Queensland emerging squad as well as being named 18th man during game three of the 2007 series but it would be the closest he would come to taking to the field for the Maroons in his 12-year career.

Matt Orford (New South Wales)

The 2008 Dally M Medal winner was one of the best performing half-backs of the NRL era.

The talented number seven went on to lead Manly to NRL glory in 2008 and will no doubt count himself as extremely unlucky never to have worn a Blues jersey. On two occasions injury prevented The Ox from making his debut for New South Wales.

Nathan Friend (Queensland)

A strong defender and ball carrier who had the unfortunate time of playing throughout the Cameron Smith era and was probably behind the likes of Matt Ballin and Aaron Payne in terms of the Maroons number nine jersey.

However, Friend was still an exceptionally talented player despite being at a lower weight to most dummy halves. The former Broncos, Warriors, Storm and Titans hooker went onto play in 242 games throughout his 15-year career.

Nathan Blacklock (New South Wales)

This will probably be one of the most obvious picks to some as Blacklock will undoubtedly go down as one of the unluckiest players to have never played in Origin.

The Dragons legend is easily regarded as one of the best wingers in the NRL era and went onto score 121 tries in 142 appearances whilst in the league. To this day, he is the only man to have topped the try scoring charts in three consecutive seasons and despite appearing in three tests for Australia, he would never take to the field for the Blues.

Preston Campbell (New South Wales)

Despite his small stature, Campbell was one of the most impressive, courageous, dynamic and skilful players to take to the field during the 2000s.

The 2001 Dally M Medal winner was integral to the Penrith side that won the 2003 NRL premiership with his electric pace and great footwork making him handful for his opponents to deal with. The versatile playmaker never got his chance for the Blues though as there was plenty other quality talent in the New South Wales squad at the time.

Brent Webb (Queensland)

Despite being a former New Zealand international, Webb was born in Cairns, Queensland and was eligible to play for the Maroons during his time in the NRL.

The former full-back was a solid performer for the New Zealand Warriors after scoring 39 tries in 103 appearances. However, in an era that saw the likes of Billy Slater, Matt Bowen, Clinton Schifcofske and Rhys Wesser, Webb never got his chance with the Maroons and ultimately pledged his allegiance to New Zealand.

Darren Britt (New South Wales)

The former Canterbury captain carved out a great career as one of the toughest yet most humble props of the 1990s.

During his time in Australian first-grade rugby, he led the Bulldogs to Grand Final glory in 1995 before going on to appear once again in 1998. A total of nine test appearances for Australia is also a record for most international caps without an origin selection. Throughout his career, the likes of Glenn Lazarus, Paul Harragon, Robbie Kearns and Mark Carroll were ahead of him in terms of selection.

Aaron Payne (Queensland)

A North Queensland favourite who came pretty close to making his Queensland debut on several occasions but was another player that sat behind Cameron Smith for the better part of his career.

Throughout his time in the league, he was certainly somewhat of an underrated player as he operated in the shadows of Matty Bowen and Johnathan Thurston but he still went on to be named the Cowboys’ Player of The Year on two occasions in 2006 and 2008.

John Sutton (New South Wales)

The former South Sydney captain played a mammoth 337 games in the NRL between 2004-19 but remarkably would come up short whenever it came to a Blues selection.

In 2013, Sutton was battling alongside Josh Reynolds for an Origin spot, but New South Wales would end up taking the latter. Throughout his career, he was a great servant to the game and went on to lead the Rabbitohs to their first title in 43 years back in 2014.

Reni Maitua (New South Wales)

At his peak Maitua was probably one of the most impressive players in the game and if it was not for some problems off the field then he could have easily been capped by the Blues many times.

The former Australia and Samoa international probably spent his best years with the Canterbury Bulldogs with whom he won the 2004 NRL title.

Ashley Graham (Queensland)

A Queensland selection always seemed to be out of reach for Graham with the closest he came being back in 2011 when the Maroons decided to go with Brisbane’s Jharal Yow Yeh.

The former North Queensland and Parramatta winger was a noteworthy try scorer during his career and finished with a 50% strike rate after scoring 102 tries in 202 appearances. In 2011, he even tied Ben Barba’s record for most tries in a regular season with 21.

Luke Burt (New South Wales)

The former Parramatta star spent his entire 14-year career with the Eels and went onto to be a points scoring machine for the blue and gold.

In total, he scored 124 tries and tallied 1,793 points which would both be record highs for a player who has never appeared in the State of Origin. Between 1999-12, he was never the flashiest but he was as solid and consistent a performer as they came despite being overlooked for New South Wales contention. The Blues usually opted for more versatile players such as Michael De Vere, Luke Lewis, Hazem El Masri, David Williams, Jarryd Hayne and Timana Tahu.

Luke Patten (New South Wales)

Like Blacklock, it is amazing to think that the Canterbury full-back never got the chance to make his mark in the State of Origin.

In his 13-year career, he was a skilful yet tough player who went on to become one of the Bulldogs’ greatest players and twice won the club’s Player of The Year honours as well as being a huge part of their 2004 Premiership winning season. The General came close to playing for the Blues back in 2009 after being named as 18th man for game three of the series but it never came to pass. In an exceptional era for the number one spot, the likes of Anthony Minichiello, Brett Hodgson, Kurt Gidley and Brett Stewart were always seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order.

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