Some of the game's elite rugby league players sensationally passed on the chance to earn up to $50,000 for every Origin game.
As both teams prepare to take the first representative fixture to the other side of the country in front of a packed Optus Stadium in Perth, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed a proposal to increase match payments by around $20,000 from $30,000 was quickly rejected.
League's biggest names were privately approached about the idea but said they wanted any extra money redirected to the retirement fund to help other players transition to life after football, and to increase list sizes and the NRL minimum wage.
The Origin series now generates more than $100 million, according to an Australian Financial Review report earlier this month, and last Wednesday's opener in Brisbane won by Queensland was the most-watched program on TV this year.
The 34 players who put on league's biggest show are left physically and mentally exhausted, which makes you wonder if they are entitled to a larger slice of the Origin pie.
Manly and new Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans was aware of the huge revenue being generated by the three showpiece games and how much work had been done by the Rugby League Players' Association when it came to addressing representative payments in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
"One of the big discussions was whether rep players wanted to push for higher Origin payments or spread it more equally across the playing group,'' Cherry-Evans told the Herald.
"But we basically decided that it was more important to look after all players in the NRL, so that's why we prioritised directing our share of revenue to things like the retirement account and extending list sizes. We're focused on looking after players at all levels and helping grow the game.''
NSW hooker Damien Cook told the Herald there was no price you could put on wearing the sky blue.
"You don't play Origin for the money. I know it's a nice little bonus, and it helps because we have short careers,'' Cook said.
"But you play that game to wear that blue jersey and to win the series. It was an unbelievable experience last year and we want to do it again this year, and that's what we'll be trying to do.''
The RLPA also floated the idea of increasing payments to players involved in internationals, but again the players passed. The Kangaroos deserved credit for taking a pay cut and splitting the money with Tonga last year so their historic Test in front of a packed Mt Smart Stadium proceeded.
The Kangaroos earn $20,000 a Test, which is less than Origin but more than their Wallabies counterparts, who pocket $10,000 for each international, as well as the Socceroos ($7000).
Some members who played in the inaugural Origin match in 1980 were happy for the current Blues and Maroons to earn whatever they could get.
Queensland forward Rod "Rocket" Reddy recalled the Maroons players being paid $1000 for the historic win plus a daily $25 living-away-from-home allowance.
NSW centre Mick Cronin quipped that the losers ''were docked three days' worth of wages''.
"It wasn't a lot, and it's sort of grown since then. The players are professional now and they work hard,'' Reddy said.
Former Blues dummy-half Steve Edge said: "When it comes to Origin you'd do it for nothing. Origin is now such a massive event, there is a massive audience, it's great for our game, so they deserve everything they get.''