Building up to the State of Origin series opener at Suncorp Stadium, we’re counting down the 10 greatest individual performances in Origin history.
Fittingly, No.7 in the countdown features the great Andrew Johns and his display in the 2003 series opener, the first Origin match to be played at the refurbished Suncorp Stadium.
A blow-up with long-time coach and confidant Phil Gould in the lead-up to the series dominated the headlines, but ‘Joey’ ultimately did his talking on the paddock.
His pinpoint passes produced a first-half double for fullback Anthony Minichiello, while he sent Craig Wing over with another magical pass after the break, kicked a field goal and sealed the match by hitting a hole off a Danny Buderus pass to score. Johns added four goals in the 25-12 victory.
Luke Bailey was a surprise man-of-the-match off the bench, while Johns claimed the gong by dominating the series-sealing 27-4 thrashing in game two. But in one of the toughest series-opening clashes in Origin history, Johns’ masterful ball-playing performance gets our vote.