Even Queensland coach Kevin Walters could understand why NSW rival Laurie Daley was frustrated with the referees in the Maroons’ 6-4 State of Origin opening win in Sydney.
Daley said he wanted referees Gerard Sutton and Ben Cummins to be sacked ahead of Origin II in Brisbane in three weeks after several controversial calls in the series opener.
At first, Walters could see the funny side of the controversy.
Told that Daley wanted the referees out of Origin, Walters said: “We can get them back in.
“We will take a bit out of (Queensland skipper) Cameron (Smith)’s salary to help.”
When the laughter died down, Walters was deadly serious when he admitted Queensland had got the rub of the green at ANZ Stadium.
“To be honest we got some favourable calls,” he said.
“And you need that to win at this level.
“You can’t do it by yourself.
“You do need a bit of assistance and a bit of luck, that was the case for Queensland tonight.
“All of the 50-50 calls went Queensland’s way.”
NSW players were most upset when Josh Morris was denied a 66th minute try when the bunker overturned the onfield decision.
“I understand where Laurie is coming from, he did get a couple of rough calls,” Walters said.
“I don’t have a problem with the referees but I can understand why Laurie does.”
Walters said he was breathing a sigh of relief when the Morris try was overruled.
“I did, particularly when that try was overruled,” he said.
Walters was pleased to have started his coaching reign with a gutsy win.
He takes over the reins held by Mal Meninga who won nine series in the last 10 years.
“I was a bit stressed in the coach’s box but the tough stuff is done on the field,” he said.
“It was a long second half. Was it golden point? Was it extra time?
“But both teams had their chances to win the game.
“Fortunately those boys got the job done as they have done over the years.”