New South Wales had won every match between the two states until 1922, when the Maroons, with Cyril Connell playing at halfback, achieved their maiden victory. This commenced Queensland's only golden period before the introduction of State of Origin. In 1925 Queensland toured New Zealand and played against the full New Zealand side. The Queensland side was invited to tour ahead of the New South Wales side because Queensland was the more dominant of the two during this period.
During the 1951 French rugby league tour of Australia and New Zealand Queensland played one match against the successful France national rugby league team, a 19-all draw. As the twentieth century progressed, New South Wales proved to be the dominant team. Queensland did not win an interstate series against New South Wales until 1958. The powerful New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership attracted many Queenslanders south of the border, and the "residential" selection policy meant that the Maroons would often be disadvantaged against New South Wales teams containing many Queenslanders playing in the New South Wales club competition.
In the 1970s Queensland only won four matches, and it was decided that if New South Wales won the first two games of the 1980 series that there would be a "State of Origin" selection policy for the last game. This meant that selection would be based on the state a player made his senior debut in, not the state that he currently played in. Queensland's first truly representative team won the first State of Origin match 20–10 on 8 July 1980. After Queensland lost the first two games in 1981 the third match was again a State of Origin match. Queensland also won this game, and all subsequent series have been played under State of Origin selection criteria.
Queensland's overall record in interstate clashes between 1908 and 1981 (non-State of Origin matches) was 54 wins, 8 draws and 159 losses in 221 games. Between 1908 and 1979 Queensland also played matches against a number of touring Test teams.Tour Matches
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State of Origin era (1980 - present)
In the inaugural State of Origin match in 1980, Queensland surprised all in a commanding 20–10 win over New South Wales. Arthur Beetson and Chris Close were the stars for Queensland, but Kerry Boustead scored Queensland's first ever try. This saw the new State of Origin rules applied a fairer game, saw it again in 1981. In 1981, legendary captain Arthur Beetson was ready to play before injury ruled him out, so he became coach of the team, and would remain so for the next three years. It seemed that State of Origin might still be dominated by New South Wales with the Blues ahead 15–0, but a remarkable comeback by Queensland saw them defeat New South Wales 22–15 with young captain Wally Lewis and Chris Close the stars of the comeback win. This match gave rugby league officials the impetus to decide that 1982 should have 2 State of Origin matches and a decider if required.
In 1982, for the first time all three matches of the interstate series were played using 'origin' selection rules. New South Wales won their first State of Origin match in Game One, but this was not enough to stop Queensland winning the second and third games with Mal Meninga, Rod Morris and captain Wally Lewis the heroes for Queensland of the series. The next year New South Wales won the second game, but Queensland dominated the first and the decider winning the series with Wally Lewis being the saviour for Queensland.
At the end of the 1983 seasons in Qld and NSW, the Queensland team also toured Papua New Guinea and Great Britain. Their tour of Great Britain saw them play three matches. The first against Hull Kingston Rovers resulted in an 8-6 loss, though the Wally Lewis led Maroons then easily won their remaining matches against Wigan (40-2) and Leeds (58-2).
In 1985, Queensland saw their first ever series loss to New South Wales, for the first time, New South Wales were dominate through the series. Queensland's poor performance could be seen as Arthur Beetson retiring as coach or New South Wales halfback Steve Mortimer in good form. Queensland lost the first two matches but won the third match. Under new coach, Wayne Bennett, the 1986 series saw Queensland play a lot better but the scoreboard didn't show, Queensland lost all 3 games, only by small margins for each game, but the fact was New South Wales had whitewashed Queensland.