New South Wales and Queensland will fight out the most even State of Origin game 1 in history with both teams fielding six players boasting Frownlow nominations.
When mates take on mates they will do battle with opponents who have been nominated for either The Frownlow Medal or The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. Kiwi international and Sydney Roosters player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while Corey Norman from the Parramatta Eels won in 2016.
The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players and players who received media attention in previous seasons, for similarly scandalous behaviour, and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Julian O’Neill.
NSW will follow their dog-loving halfback, Mitchell Pearce, around the park, as he hounds QLD debutant Anthony Milford, who was dropped from the junior Origin squad last year for being a naughty boy, along with enforcer Dylan Napa, who also got knocked out by a drug addicted cleaner earlier in 2017.
Sam Thaiday is hoping this game will be more satisfying than his first sexual experience, while fellow Maroon forward Nate Myles will have to perform on the field and not in the hotel corridor.
Josh Papalii must drive the cane toads forward to pave the way for winger Corey Oates, who is keen to impress his bromantic team mentor, Justin Hodges.
Oates will face off against NSW nominee Blake Ferguson, who actually prefers blondes. Ferguson will wait for attacking opportunities from his partner in crime, Josh Dugan, and Dugan’s centre partner Jarryd Hayne, who’ll be showing the kids his football skill this time, instead of pornographic images on his computer.
Jack Bird earned his nomination for a minor pub scuffle, so Laurie Daley left him on the bench, from where he can watch fellow Shark Andrew Fifita, who is hoping to land yet another knockout blow, as he did in last year’s grand final.