Nate Myles has again been identified by NSW as Queensland’s chief niggler as the Blues plan to reply in kind to what they perceive to be the Maroons’ bullying tactics in State of Origin II.
NSW believe that Queensland, led by Myles and backed up by Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Justin Hodges, are getting away with rough house tactics.
And the Blues have vowed to be more aggressive in their response come game two.
Myles has been getting under the skin of the Blues for years and NSW skipper Paul Gallen infamously took matters into his own hands in Origin I two years ago.
That stoush led to NRL boss Dave Smith issuing his `one punch and you are off’ edict.
Origin II takes the interstate series back to the MCG, the scene of perhaps the most memorable Origin biff of all time, in Game II, 1995, when play was stopped for five minutes by referee Eddie Ward due to an all-in brawl at the first scrum.
Smith’s edict has effectively eliminated fights from Origin but the niggle has remained.
The Blues took umbrage at several incidents in game one this year including Hodges’ first half tackle on Farah which injured the NSW rake’s shoulder; a second half elbow by Slater on Josh Morris after he grounded the ball in his own in-goal; and a Slater shoulder on Josh Dugan.
Blues prop James Tamou intimated that a repeat next Wednesday would not go down well with NSW.
“They do get a bit niggly and it does put you off,” he said.
“When something happens to you, you get a bit frustrated, whether it be a knee or something. The refs do let a lot go, I guess we can give it back in some way, shape or form. We can definitely up the ante.
“You do get away with more in Origin and that’s what makes it a better game and that’s what the fans love.”
When asked to nominate the key source of Queensland’s niggle, Tamou, one of the Blues’ best in Origin I, didn’t hesitate.
“Nate Myles for obvious reasons but that’s why he’s there,” Tamou said.
“He’s good at what he does and around Origin time he really steps up and plays his best footy.
“We have to look out for him but we can definitely take him on.
“A few things he’s done (get under your skin) but it’s more what I’ve seen (he’s done) to my players that gets the fire going.”