The calls to bring back State of Origin in the AFL have been getting louder in recent years and this Friday night a special once-off Victoria v All-Stars game to raise money for the Bushfire appeal is no doubt going to whet the appetite to bring it back.
Much like the last time Victoria played back in 2008, it’s not quite a State of Origin match rather a team consisting of the best players from everywhere else back then it was “The Dream Team” and now they are the “All-Stars”.
In this blog, we’ve decided to turn the clock back and remember the last time the AFL did the proper State of Origin, when Victoria took on South Australia back in 1999 and it wasn’t as warm or nostalgic as you’d remember it.
It was Saturday the 29th of May 1999 and the weather in Melbourne was bloody Miserable.
Victoria played South Australia at the MCG and the game was marketed as “One More Time With Passion”
With the National competition in full-swing, the idea of playing for your State wasn’t seen as sacred.
Clubs didn’t like it either due to risking injury to their star players.
The likes of Tony Modra and Darren Jarman just happened to be “Injured” when given the opportunity to play for South Australia.
For the Vics Mark Mercuri, Stephen Tingay, Robert Harvey, Stewart Loewe and Wayne Schwass all happened to be injured as well.
But there was still some pretty decent line ups for both the Vics and the Croweaters for the game.
Robert Walls coached Victoria and could tell by the vibe going into the game and in the rooms that that State of Origin footy was on its last legs.
It was hardly the hottest ticket in town either, only 26,000 turned up to the MCG that wet afternoon to see Victoria beat South Australia by 57 points.
Boomer Harvey won the EJ Whitten Medal for the player judged Best on Ground.
Meanwhile in Footy…
Tony Lockett was three goals away from kicking his 1300th goal making him the GOAT.
The merch & memorabilia was ready to go and advertised in the Footy Record, even though he hadn’t kicked it yet.
Spoiler Alert…he kicked it the next week.
After nine rounds the 1999 AFL season, West Coast was on top of the ladder with eight wins and one loss.
Richmond was 9th on the Ladder which was the style at the time.
The new Docklands Stadium was under construction and Vicotria Park and Waverley were still AFL Venues
And in General…
“No Scrubs” by TLC was top of the charts
Hey Hey It’s Saturday was still on TV…like State of Origin it was axed about five months later after 28 years.
Tickets for the Sydney 2000 Olympics had just gone on sale.
John Howard was Prime Minister and took Australia to a referendum a few months later about becoming a Republic.
Malcolm Turnbull and Eddie McGuire were leading the Republican movement.