Niggle was the buzzword of State of Origin II, but the pre-match focus of NSW’s forwards was camaraderie instead of callousness.
David Klemmer says the Blues’ forwards had a simple message for one another regarding the MCG clash they needed to win to keep the series alive.
“You want to walk off that field looking at the mate next to you, knowing you put in,” Klemmer said of their approach.
“That’s a big thing for us, not letting your mate down.
“It doesn’t matter what the spectators think. It’s the bloke that comes in after the game, you’ve got to look at him and say I did all I can.”
Klemmer, the heaviest player on the field at 116kg and a noted firebrand, praised his side for not crossing the line on Wednesday night.
“There’s always niggle. You can’t do anything about it,” he said.
“You can’t throw a punch, you sort of put up with it.
“We handled it pretty well, we kept cool heads.”
The 21-year-old is impressing in his maiden Origin campaign, playing few minutes but making a big impact off the bench.
Klemmer has adopted a similar mantra to his promising rugby league career.
“A big part of me is that you’re only in this lovely game for a short time and you have to make the most of it,” he said.
“There’s nothing to be scared of.”
Klemmer was thrilled with his first win with the Blues, but just as excited about the chance to call Paul Gallen a teammate.
“It was a childhood dream to play with him,” he said.
“I’ll never forget it.
“He was enormous. He was in everything – taking hit-ups, tackling and just doing his job.”