NSW captain Paul Gallen has slammed Queensland as “grubby” and “disrespectful”, setting the scene for a volatile encounter in State of Origin II at the MCG on Wednesday.
In his match eve press conference, Gallen handed the Maroons a clear warning that the Blues would not tolerate a repeat of some incidents that upset them in their game one defeat in Sydney.
“We have been used to their grubby tactics for years now,” said enforcer Gallen, who returns after missing the opening game loss in Sydney with injury.
“In game one I suppose the boys were a bit naive to think that some of the so-called angels of the game don’t get up to any of it.
“I’m sure that none of the boys will take a backward step this time. They know what is coming and I’m sure Queensland do as well.
“We are not out there to fight, we are not out there to play dirty, we are out there to play hard and tough but we won’t be taking any a backward step and if those tactics start to sneak into the game I’m sure our boys will adapt to that.”
Gallen again identified Nate Myles as the Maroons’ chief niggler and said Billy Slater putting “his shoulder into” Josh Morris as he lay on the ground was among incidents that upset NSW in Sydney.
The Blues have taken motivation from reports that Slater may be headed for season-ending surgery on his troublesome shoulder following Origin II.
“If he is planning on having surgery on Thursday, I think that is a sign of where their team is at the moment,” Gallen said.
“They think they are that much better than us.
“They think they are going to get this win and it is going to be the end of the series and Billy is going to get surgery and have the rest of the year off.
“It is a little bit disrespectful to us. But it is easy to be talking about it and having a go at him.
“We have to go out there and get the win tomorrow night and prove that we are the better side.”
Maroons skipper Cameron Smith said Queensland were not bothered by NSW’s tough talk and that both sides were guilty of niggling tactics in Origin I.
“I don’t think there was much difference between the way the two teams played to be honest,” he said.
“They are entitled to their opinion. It doesn’t faze us.
“We are out there to win and do whatever we have to do to win.”
Series Wins (Since 1982): Played 33, QLD 18, NSW 13, Drawn 2
All Origin Matches (1980-2014) – Played 103; Queensland 55, NSW 46, Drawn 2
In Victoria: Played 7; NSW 3, QLD 4
At MCG: Played 3, NSW 2, QLD 1
Total Points Scored – QLD 1692 points (293 tries, 261 goals and 11 fg), NSW 1586 points (270 tries, 252 goals and 13 fg)