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Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Origin game evolves
Action from New South Wales against Queensland
Australian state rugby league has shown the way
By BBC Sport Online's Dave Woods

Andy Farrell has won most things in Rugby League - but on Tuesday 5 June he will achieve a dream that he never thought possible.

Farrell will lead out Lancashire in the inaugural Origin game.

And if his pride in captaining the Red Rose county can be matched by anyone, then it's Jimmy Lowes, the tenacious hooker, who gets the job of skippering Yorkshire.

"I missed out on playing in the old Lancashire v Yorkshire games," says Farrell.

The Aussies have done it for years and it works for them
  Jimmy Lowes
"When I started playing in the first team, the county matches hadn't been played for a couple of years. But it's something I grew up watching and something I always wanted to play in.

"I am very proud of be part of this match, especially as the Lancashire captain."

While Farrell is raring to go, Jimmy Lowes is positiviely bristling.

Surrounded by many of his Bradford Bulls teammates, he's hoping the White Rose county can continue their impressive record against Lancashire.

Before the old War of the Roses clashes were disbanded, Yorkshire had won 6 on the trot.

Lanashire's Andy Farrell
Farrell will look to call the shots
"We've gone for a big pack and we've got some quality players," says Lowes.

"Having so many Bradford players in helps, because we know each others' games.

"We don't have much time to practise for this, so it helps that we're familiar."

The Origin game has inevitably drawn comparisons with the Australian State of Origin game, the annual meeting of two state sides in open warfare, loosely dressed up as three games of Rugby league.

And both Farrell and Lowes believe Lancashire and Yorkshire can produce the same level of intensity on the pitch, helping prepare players for Test football.

"This is the way forward," says Lowes. "The Aussies have done it for years and it works for them. If we can approach it in the same way, I'm sure it will pay dividends for us."

Yorkshire's Jimmy Lowes
Lowes believes the Bradford connection will help Lancashire
Farrell adds: " You only have to look at the two squads to tell you that it's going to be a great game.

"When you get professional players with equal ability playing against each other, you can't help but come up with a game that's very exciting."

Not everyone agrees that the squads are of exactly equal ability. Some pundits suggest that Lancashire have the edge on skills.

But Farrell dismisses that theory: "The same is said in Australia every year."

"New South Wales are always supposed to have the best players, yet Queensland always give them a hard time.

"It's all about who turns up on the day. We've got two very good sides and it's going to be very hard to call."

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See also:

27 May 01 |  Super League Show
Let Roses war commence
30 May 01 |  Rugby League
Deacon added to Lancashire squad
21 May 01 |  Rugby League
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01 May 01 |  Rugby League
Origin bosses unveiled
05 Apr 01 |  Rugby League
Roses clash to prepare for Ashes
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