Brutal axing that haunted NSW for 15 years

Jarrod Mullen played his only State of Origin match as a 20-year-old in Game One of the 2007 series.

Having played just nine first grade matches at halfback prior to his Origin selection, and 31 matches in all, he was something of a bolter.

In a match where New South Wales had an 18-6 lead at Suncorp Stadium, the Maroons staged one of their famous Origin comebacks to win 25-18.

Mullen’s axing for Brett Kimmorley meant New South Wales used four halfbacks in the space of four games, having also tried Brett Finch and Craig Gower.

Despite appearing in more than 200 first grade games for Newcastle up until 2016, he never again donned the Blues jumper.

Mullen made headlines after testing positive to anabolic steroids in the 2016-17 off-season, and in 2019 pleaded guilty to a charge of supplying cocaine.

But the most serious incident was a 2018 drug overdose which he says he was lucky to survive.

“When Mum and Dad got home four hours later I was unresponsive, grey, choking. If I was living by myself, I’d be dead,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2020.

“I knew I was taking hardcore drugs, but I still didn’t think I had a problem, which is amazing. It’s insane.”

Mullen now has a TAFE qualification in drug and alcohol counselling.

“I don’t want a sob story. I’m taking full responsibility for the road I went down,” he said.

“But I know I’m a good person.”

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