Andrew Farrar spoke to me about his State of Origin career for Thirteen in 2005
Andrew Farrar was an excellent, tough defensive centre who signed for Canterbury as a 17-year-old in 1979. He was an influential member of the side that halted Parramatta’s grip on the Winfield Cup with Grand Final successes in 1984 and 1985. He was a significant reason why Parramatta’s backs were often nullified by Canterbury in this period not just marking Steve Ella but also facing up to some of the rugby league’s finest attacking three-quarters in Steve Rogers, Mal Meninga, Andrew Ettingshausen and Michael O’Connor.
It was Farrar’s boot that decided the 1985 Grand Final as he plundered the drop goal in the 7-6 win over St George at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Another typically strong performance from him helped his club to the 1988 Winfield Cup with a 25-12 over Balmain Tigers, the first final at the Sydney Football stadium.
That year he also won the World Cup as Australia beat New Zealand in the final.
Underused in Origin, Farrar represented his state on seven occasions, scoring three tries. Two of them came in the 1986 whitewash.
Andrew, what are your memories of your 1984 Origin debut?
I remember that well because from the kick off there was an enormous brawl! (above). Chris Close was giving it to Ray Price so I certainly remember it. It was very intense which bought about an elevation in the pace. The toughness of the defence also stood out.
What about the general opinion that Queensland wanted it more? Do you think the Sydney media were just trying to belittle their achievements?
It’s right in saying that particularly in the early years. The extra passion probably came about because they felt hard done by with the Interstate series where they had to face up to Queenslanders playing for New South Wales.
You scored three tries in your next two series in 1986 and 1987. What do you remember about those years?
I was playing on the wing and they were enjoyable times. We won the series in 1986 and there were very good players like Brett Kenny in the side. I also remember being the only Blue to miss out on the Kangaroo tour later that year!
What Origin tries still stick in your mind?
There’s one from my debut at the Sydney Cricket ground when Wally chipped and hit the crossbar and although the game was played in a complete bog Dowling managed to catch it and score.
Who do you think are the best players from the 25 years of State of Origin?
For Queensland you can’t look past Wally. He epitomised what it was all about and other great players were Gene Miles and Alfie Langer but The King stands out as the star performer in State of Origin. For New South Wales there’s Brett Kenny and, in later years, I would say Brad Fittler.