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June 21: Backo blitzes Blues; JT does what JT does

On this day, Slammin' Sam Backo becomes an instant cult hero for the Maroons, the great Johnathan Thurston steers the Cowboys to 11 straight and Maddie Studdon leads the Blues to victory.


A New South Wales side containing a record eight Parramatta Eels players downs Queensland 10-6 at the SCG to level the series 1-all. Roosters fullback Marty Gurr is the only non-Eel in a star studded backline featuring Mick Cronin, Steve Ella, Eric Grothe, Brett Kenny, Peter Sterling and Neil Hunt from a Parra side which was on its way to a third straight premiership. The Parra connection contributed all 10 points through tries to Hunt and Ella and a goal to Cronin. 

Blues and Parramatta powerhouse Eric Grothe.
Blues and Parramatta powerhouse Eric Grothe.


Queensland complete their first Origin clean sweep after claiming 26-18, 16-6  and 38-22  victories. Canberra prop Sam Backo wins back-to-back man of the match awards in the final two games after legendary No.7 Allan Langer is named  the best on ground in the opening game.  


Parramatta  overturn  a  22-6  deficit  with 11  minutes  to  play  against  North  Queensland  to  win  24-22.  Rookie  halfback  Michael  Witt  lands a conversion  from  the  sideline  to  win  the  game  for  the  Eels.


Backing up from a physical battering in Origin II, North Queensland maestro  Johnathan Thurston kicks a field goal on the final siren to secure the Cowboys’ 11th consecutive victory – a 21-20 win over Canberra at GIO Stadium. Thurston would go on to lead the Cowboys to their maiden premiership and take home the Dally M Medal as the game's best player.


Newcastle fullback Jake Mamo produces one of the most athletic plays of the  season when he launches himself across the dead-ball line at Hunter Stadium  to haul in his own kick and present five-eighth Carlos Tuimavave with a spectacular try.

NSW Blues halfback Maddie Studdon.
NSW Blues halfback Maddie Studdon. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos


The New South Wales woman’s team claims a second successive State of Origin victory over Queensland with a 14-4 result at a packed North Sydney Oval. Blues halfback Maddie Studdon wins the Nellie Doherty Medal as player of the match. The clash attracts a national average audience of 785,000 on Channel Nine (633,000) and Fox League (152,000), easily eclipsing an A-League semi-final involving Sydney FC (152,000).


This article contains information from the official records of NRL historian David Middleton.