66% of the top NRL players are Queenslanders: is NSW State of Origin doomed?

Chris Stead 1 October 2015


As we approach the first ever all-Queensland NRL grand final between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys, what does this mean for the future of the State of Origin series?

On October 4, the NRL will experience something it has never seen before – an all-Queensland Grand Final. It is only the second time in the sport’s 107 year history that no New South Wales team has appeared in the decider, the other being the 2006 victory by the Brisbane Broncos against the Melbourne Storm. The two teams deserve to be there and we anticipate a cracking game. But for those below the border, the doom and gloom is set to extend well beyond this season.

Earlier this year we posted some damning data that showed Queensland was twice as dependent on non-State born players as NSW, but today we have great news for the banana benders. We examined the top four teams of the NRL season – Sydney Roosters, Melbourne Storm, North Queensland Cowboys and the Brisbane Broncos - and looked at their final fielded team to see just how heavily Queensland was represented in the playing ranks. The results are startling. Here is what we discovered;

  • Of the 68 players who took the field for these four teams in their final games of the year, 20 were born overseas and one was from Victoria.
  • Of the remaining 47 players, 31 are Queenslanders and 16 are New South Welshmen. This means that 66% of Australians in the top 4 best teams are Queenslanders.
  • The average age of the 31 Queenslanders in the top four teams is 26.
  • Of the 16 players that make up the spine (fullback, five-eighth, halfback and hooker) of these four teams, one was born overseas. Of the remaining 15, just four are from NSW, meaning 73% are Queenslanders.
  • If Brisbane win the Grand Final, there will be no New South Wales player in the best NRL team.

It must be a shock to New South Wales supporters; so much for the theory that Queensland’s old dogs will soon be on the way out and New South Wales will regain ascendancy in the State of Origin arena. Not only are two-thirds of the players in the best teams in the country Queenslanders, they're still very young. And what’s more, they dominate the spine of these teams, where 73% of Australians in these key roles are Queenslanders.

Let’s not forget, New South Wales has a population of 7.6 million, and Queensland 4.8 million. And Queensland has just the three teams in the competition, where New South Wales has 10.

It’s bleak reading indeed… well, not for Queenslanders.

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