Maroons' first coach tips Qld glory in 100th game

AS State of Origin reaches the century, the man who guided Queensland to the historic maiden victory back in 1980 will attend yet another blockbuster between the Maroons and New South Wales.

John 'Cracker' McDonald coached Queensland to a 20-10 win over NSW at Lang Park in the first State of Origin match to help lay the foundation for one of the greatest rivalries in Australian sport.

McDonald, who also served as QRL chairman for 21 years, will cheer on the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium tonight and had trouble remembering one of the previous 99 matches that he hasn't attended, be they in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne.

"I don't think I've missed any," McDonald said.

He didn't get to the one-off Los Angeles game between Queensland and NSW in 1987 though.

And as Queensland embarks on its quest for a ninth-straight series victory, McDonald is tipping the Maroon to go 1-0 up, heading into game two in Sydney.

"I think Queensland will win," he said. "We've got a wealth of experience there.

NSW has picked some new players and I think the standing that our players have should hold them in good stead."

Queensland's first Origin coach, John McDonald.
Queensland's first Origin coach, John McDonald. Bev Lacey

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