MULLUMBIMBY rugby league coach Graham "Wombat" Eadie had the privilege of playing for NSW in the inaugural State of Origin game in 1980.
He was at the tail-end of his career in Australia when the Blues were beaten 20-10 against Queensland.
It was a one-off fixture that was played again in 1981 before it became a best-of-three series in 1982. Eadie, 59, only played one Origin game but was a NSW representative player for six years in the lead-up.
"It was great to play in the first one, I thought it was a really good concept," Eadie said. "It's funny to look back at that first game and see what it's become now. We were told by NSW Rugby League that it was a trial and they had no idea how popular it was going to be."
Fast forward 33 years to tonight and Robbie Farah and his men have a chance to win the Blues' first series since 2005. Eadie believes the NSW players have nothing to be ashamed of with their efforts in recent years.
However, he now works at the Billinudgel Hotel and believes confidence isn't high among Blues supporters ahead of the game. "I don't think it's as bad as people make it out to be," Eadie said.
"We almost got the job done last year but a couple of things didn't go our way.
"Most years we've gone into that last game 1-all and fallen just short. That's life I suppose, but it would be nice to win this one."
Casino product Matt King was the last Northern Rivers player to win a series with the Blues. He left to play in the English Super League when he was still in his prime but managed to play nine games for NSW beforehand. His last match was game three in 2007 when the Blues lost.
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