For the record, “another round” with NSW young gun David Klemmer does not interest Queensland veteran Corey Parker.
However, Maroons teammate Johnathan Thurston admits the Blues’ Klemmer has “ruffled feathers” in the Queensland camp ahead of Wednesday night’s State of Origin decider in Brisbane.
Parker appeared to forge a new Origin rivalry when he almost came to blows with Klemmer in Origin II after demanding Klemmer “show some respect”.
But Parker did his best to play the incident down on Monday, even offering the Blues firebrand a compliment.
“He (Klemmer) has been fantastic for NSW but I don’t think I would use the words ‘another round’,” he said of the prospect of lining up against Klemmer again.
However, playmaker Thurston painted a very different picture ahead of their must-win clash.
Thurston admitted Klemmer had earned begrudging respect from Queensland after backing up his game-one fireworks.
His powerhouse Origin II performance in Melbourne helped NSW clinch a series-levelling 26-18 win.
“No doubt he is a big, aggressive forward,” Thurston said.
“He has probably ruffled a few feathers and that is probably what (NSW coach) Laurie (Daley) wanted him to do – but that’s what Origin is all about.
“(And) he has been able to back it up.”
Thurston said it was up to the Queensland pack to answer the challenge thrown down by two-game sensation Klemmer if they were to seal their ninth series win in 10 years.
“This is a big opportunity for the team – it’s all or nothing now,” he said.
“We are very disappointed with the way we performed in game two – but we have an opportunity to make amends.”
Klemmer is expected to rival NSW skipper Paul Gallen in the boo stakes when he runs out onto Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
Daley still tried to launch a charm offensive in Queensland on Monday for his maligned new weapon Klemmer.
“He is one of the most respectful people I have been involved with – it surprised me that people say (otherwise),” he said.
“He loves life. He loves footy. He loves his teammates and he brings that infectious enthusiasm.”
But when push came to shove, Daley backed Klemmer to soak up the heat at a venue dubbed “The Cauldron” – Queensland’s beloved Suncorp Stadium.
“He will handle it. He has played in Test matches, grand finals, Origins, he is a big lump of a lad,” he said.
“Footy is a tough game and sometimes things can happen on the field and there can be swearing as such.
“(But) our boys are just concerned about supporting one another.”