State of Origin II 1997: John Simon kicks historic winning field goal, Aaron Raper shafted by Tommy

AT a quarter-full MCG 20 years ago, a Blues player produced an unprecedented but little-remembered piece of State of Origin folklore.

That same game, his NSW teammate copped a never-forgotten shafting.

The hero was John Simon, elevated from the bench to starting halfback after an injury to makeshift hooker Andrew Johns, with Geoff Toovey pushed from No.7 to No.9. Simon kicked a field goal that won not just the game, but the series – an Origin first.

The victim of circumstance at the mighty ’G was back-up hooker Aaron Raper, who could easily have gone from interchange to starter in his Origin debut but ultimately sat on the bench all night. He never played a minute of Origin, all thanks to coach Tommy Raudonikis.

Simon (via The Daily Telegraph): “Once Andrew Johns was ruled out, I was told I would be starting the game.”

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