The champagne is on ice for Queensland along with NSW stand-in skipper Robbie Farah’s shoulder after a veteran Maroons’ stirring 11-10 State of Origin game one victory in Sydney.
The ageing Queenslanders tried to keep a lid on a stirring win sealed by halfback Cooper Cronk’s 74th minute field goal ahead of June 17’s game two MCG clash.
And Farah appeared to work just as hard to bite his tongue over Maroons centre Justin Hodges’ controversial tackle that has the Blues rake battling to be fit for the Melbourne re-match.
Farah admits he has “no idea” whether he will be fit for game two but will undergo scans on Thursday on his injured shoulder.
Just like Farah, NSW supporters no doubt saw red after the NRL match review committee found Hodges had no case to answer over the 28th minute tackle that floored the Blues rake.
The NSW No.9 took moments to regain his composure but played on before appearing at the post-match press conference with ice strapped to his left shoulder.
Asked if he was in doubt for Origin II, Farah said: “I have no idea.
“I’ll just ice up at the moment and we’ll assess it over the next few days.”
NSW coach Laurie Daley was also tightlipped over Hodges’ tackle but applauded Farah for playing on, despite initial concerns that he may have suffered concussion.
“He was terrific, but that’s what we have come to expect from anyone that wears the NSW shirt,” he said.
For the record, Queensland coach Mal Meninga had no problem with the tackle.
“It was not illegal, just a good, aggressive tackle,” he said.
Farah is not the only potential NSW change for Origin II.
Captain Paul Gallen is set to return along with winger Brett Morris.
But Daley said his halves Mitchell Pearce – picked out of position at pivot – and Trent Hodkinson would remain despite being schooled in composure by the Maroons veterans.
Neither stood up and took charge with scores locked up 10-all late in the match, leaving the door open for an ice-cool Cronk.
“I’m excited about this team and I know what they can do,” Daley said.
The Blues mentor is also well aware of what the Maroons can do after they again stepped up to seal the crunch play.
“We beat them at their own game,” Meninga said.
“The field goal at the end was the players managing the game in the appropriate way.”
However, man of the match and Queensland skipper Cameron Smith was not popping champagne corks just yet despite a dream start to their quest of reclaiming the Origin trophy.
“We are not getting ahead of ourselves. We know teams have come back from this,” he said.
Meanwhile, NSW prop Trent Merrin escaped suspension with an early plea for a grade one dangerous throw on Johnathan Thurston who celebrated a record 31st straight Origin.