The 22nd Annual Tom Brock Lecture

40 Years of State of Origin: The past, present and future of Rugby League’s showpiece event 

The Event

On Monday, November 9, 2020, award-winning author Joe Gorman delivered the 22nd annual Tom Brock lecture. Building on the themes of his book Heartland: How Rugby League Explains Queensland, a winner in this year’s Queensland Premier’s Literary awards, Joe gave a riveting account of the Queensland connection to State of Origin.

This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Tom Brock Bequest Committee member Terry Williams, featuring NSWRL CEO Dave Trodden and Blues legend Steve Roach.

The 22nd annual Tom Brock lecture was delivered online via Zoom.


Forty years ago, in the inaugural State of Origin match, Arthur Beetson ran on to Lang Park in Brisbane and led Queensland to a famous victory over New South Wales. Since then, Origin has grown from an experimental exhibition game to an unstoppable cultural and commercial juggernaut. In this Tom Brock Lecture, journalist and author Joe Gorman explains how Origin changed rugby league, and charts possibilities for its future. 

Speaker biography

Joe Gorman is an independent journalist, author and the 2019 Tom Brock Scholar. His most recent book, Heartland: How Rugby League Explains Queensland, won the 2020 Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance.

The panel

Terry Williams (chair), David Trodden, chief executive of the NSWRL, and 17-time NSW Origin prop Steve Roach.