The History of the QLD v TAS Rivalry

By Abby Collins

A 116-year rivalry will be reignited in three weeks when Queensland’s finest clash with Tasmania at Bond University Oval on Saturday June 22. 

The showdown of maroon and green guernseys is always a thrilling display.

This storied interstate grudge-match has featured some of the biggest names in footy history donning each of the jumpers.

Many Queenslanders have been called up to the big leagues from this state team, but representing your state is about more than just individual accolades.

As AFL Queensland’s Jack Barry explains, “It’s about carrying the torch for those who came before.” That’s why every player receives a vintage-style certificate with their name, number, and the previous maroon warriors who wore that digit.

Barry is keen to ensure the Queensland state players get to experience all the tradition surrounding this game.

The pre-game rituals are steeped in tradition too. Past players recount tales of glory from bygone eras, sometimes even bringing out their musty wool guernseys as sacred relics.

“To understand where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been,” Barry said.

The first clash was back in 1908 at the MCG, with the fledgling Maroons suffering a thumping from the more footy-savvy Tasmanians.

Queensland Team – 1908 (Picture: More of the Kangaroo)

It took a gruelling 67 years for the Queenslanders to exact their revenge with a famous 16.29 (125) to 16.7 (103) victory at the Gabba in 1975.

That breakthrough win featured some legendary names – Bill Ryan captaining the team who had played for Geelong, Barry Denny who became a Melbourne Demon, and John Stackpoole who racked up 24 state team games and seven stints as the team’s skipper.

Behind the scenes was the media mastermind Peter Cummisky, now a Queensland Football Hall of Famer for his decades driving the game in Queensland.

After a rough start to the state’s participation in the sport, the team began to hit their stride after the inspiring 1975 outfit took home the first win.

Since that 1975 boil over, 21 games have been played, Tasmania taking home nine victories and Queensland wrangling 12.

Queensland Team – 1975 (Picture: More of the Kangaroo)

With the state team’s success growing so did the development pathways. Australian Rules Football started to make a home for itself in the Sunshine State and in turn, the Queensland team’s results started to improve.

The games after 1975 provided more spills and thrills than the Rip Curl Pro.

With Tasmania’s imminent entry into the AFL, this could be the last chance to witness the passion and rigorous contest of this great interstate tradition.

Bond University will be playing host to this year’s historic match up, alongside games where North Queensland and South Queensland will be going head-to-head, making the day one full of rivalries.

Queensland’s men’s side will be looking for redemption after last year’s narrow defeat, with Queensland’s women’s side looking for back-to-back victories.

With state pride on the line, the day is sure to be one for the history books. 



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