Queensland forward Jacob Lillyman admits targeted halves Johnathan Thurston and Daly Cherry-Evans “know what is coming” in State of Origin II in Melbourne on Wednesday night.
And while the likes of Maroons “bodyguard” Sam Thaiday have vowed to stand up for the playmaking pair, Lillyman believes they’re tough enough to take care of themselves.
NSW have stoked the fire ahead of the MCG showpiece, promising retribution for Queensland’s alleged grubby tactics in Origin I.
Beau Scott is expected to place Thurston in his sights yet again while Blues teammate Ryan Hoffman has a history of targeting Cherry-Evans when the Manly playmaker has filled in for injured Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk in the past.
Asked about the extra attention his 6 and 7 are likely to face, Lillyman said: “They know what is coming.
“(But) JT has got a few tricks of his own up his sleeve – he will probably pull a few of them out.”
Thaiday, meanwhile, has put his hand up to defend Cherry-Evans.
“It’s been something I have done my whole career pretty much,” Thaiday said.
“I have had Locky (ex-skipper Darren Lockyer) outside of me, Cooper outside of me and now DCE outside of me.
“These guys can handle their own otherwise they wouldn’t be in that position but I will be out there giving them a hand whenever I can – that’s all I can do.”
Lillyman says he doesn’t really expect any angst as Queensland look to seal their ninth Origin series win in 10 years with a victory.
“The game is so quick I don’t think you have time for the niggly stuff or dirty tactics,” he said.
“Speaking personally, you are that fatigued … those thoughts don’t enter your head.
“If you are thinking about that it could divert your attention away from what can help your team.
“I haven’t noticed anything untoward out there.”