Wally Lewis.
Wally Lewis.

Wally Lewis, Benny Elias renew rivalry for our Origin Greats

RUGBY league greats Wally Lewis and Benny Elias have agreed to renew their rivalry - by selecting their greatest State of Origin sides.

But there's a catch: they'll name teams from opposing states, with Lewis naming his best NSW Origin side and Elias selecting his all-time best Queensland team.

The Origin Greats countdown will start on Wednesday, May 13.

Each day (except Sundays) leading up to Origin One on May 27, we'll focus on one position, list the selection options and spark debate on who Lewis and Elias might pick.

You will be able vote on your favourite option on our website each day for each position.

The public poll results and the picks of Lewis and Elias will run in print and online on game day, May 27.

Slater or Inglis? Langer or Lockyer? Who will the legends pick?

It's being done as a tribute to the greatest sporting institution in this country.

Let's look at out two selectors.


Nicknamed "The King" by his NSW rivals is widely regarded as the greatest Origin player of all time.

He ran out in the very first game alongside Arthur Beetson, the man most credited for the birth of the sporting phenomenon known as State of Origin, the country's highest ranking sporting event.

Lewis, who also wore the tag, The Emperor of Lang Park, played 31 Origins.

He was captain in 30 of them and being named man-of-the-match eight times.

A player who was always a step ahead of his rivals, Lewis possessed a wonderful spiral pass and could land the ball on any chosen blade of grass at Lang Park.

One of eight immortals, Lewis was hated by Cockroach fans who even took their dislike of his brilliance into the Test arena.


Pulled on the sky blue jumper 22 times for NSW (19 in Origin) and in every game he was a constant nuisance.

His battle with Queensland No.9 Steve Walters remains one of the great State of Origin rivalries.

Like Lewis, fans north of the border gave it to Elias, but like Lewis it just spurred him on.

Elias is one of the few multiple man-of-the-match winners (1990, 1992 and again in 1994 in his final Origin).

Who could ever forget the image of his mother Barbara wiping blood from her son's face, his head swathed in bandages in the middle of the field as he was doing an interview in 1992?

Elias was a member of the first New South Wales team to win a series against Queensland in1997 and as Lewis can attest, he was a fierce rival.

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