Origin LIVE: The ‘offside, cheating’ QLD hitman who will ‘do everything’ to smother Blues hero
The Blues took out game two 34-10 but Queensland will have the advantage of a huge home crowd.
Read on for all the latest news and updates ahead of the decider.
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Time Blues rewrote history2:51
‘HE’LL BE OFFSIDE, CHEATING, WHATEVER’
NSW legend Andrew Johns has called on the Maroons to do whatever it takes to shut down Nathan Cleary if they want to take out this year’s Origin series.
In particular he has praised the role of Melbourne star Christian Welch.
Cleary had two of his most poor games of the year in the grand final and game one of the State of Origin series.
The common denominator in both? Melbourne front rower Welch and his kick pressure.
“I cannot rap NSW halfback Nathan Cleary enough for his performance in game two,” Johns wrote in a column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“He was under so much pressure and scrutiny but produced the best game I’ve ever seen him play. His kicking game was up there, or even better, than that of Ricky Stuart’s in the early 1990s.”
Welch returns this week though and Johns is sending a warning to Cleary.
“The Queenslanders get back prop Christian Welch. He was the man in the grand final for the Storm who terrorised Cleary’s kicking,” he said.
“In this decider, he’ll be offside, cheating, doing whatever he can to ruffle his feathers on that last play. Cleary won’t have the time he had in Sydney and that’s a big test for him.”
Blues to face hostile crowd0:40
GALLEN STANDS BY CONTENTIOUS QUEENSLAND COMMENTS
Anything to fire the Maroons up, hey?
Yet again they are just were Wayne Bennett wants them and exactly where the Blues don’t need them, with Queensland being dismissed yet again.
Paul Gallen has refused to back down after supporting comments earlier in the week that this is the worst Queensland team in decades.
But he maintains he never said they were the worst in 40 years - rather insisting all he did was say it is a fair comment.
“Let’s go back to what I actually said – I never said they’re the worst team in 40 years, I said it’s probably a fair comment,” he explained on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio.
Gallen retired from representative football having tasted success in the Origin arena during the 2014 series.
It was an otherwise dominant period from Queensland that Gallen played in but now he sees a changing of the guard happening and he does not see it stopping soon.
“I look at the current Queensland side, and they’ve got great players, but as a team it comes down to ability and I don’t think they’ve got anywhere near the ability of the Blues,” Gallen added.
“On Wednesday night, if the enthusiasm and the effort from both sides is equal it’s got to come down to ability, and on ability I can’t see the Blues getting beaten.
“The only way Queensland get this done is if their effort and enthusiasm is better than the Blues and I just don’t think it can be.”
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Gallen put New South Wales’ opening series loss down to being an ‘off day’ while arguing the second match is a better indicator of the gulf between the two sides.
To be fair to the Maroons, they did lose five-eighth Cameron Munster very early in that heavy defeat.
“I’ve seen what they’ve done in Game Two and they know how to play that way now,” Gallen said.
“[The Blues] had a really off game and they played ordinary. You look at Game Two, they hammered [the Maroons].
“I would much rather have played against this side than any of the teams I ever played [against]. In the past 15-20 years, I’d probably say this is the worst team. There you go, let’s fire them up even more.”
Cam Smith launches book2:41
HAAS WON’T BACK DOWN IF DECIDER HEATS UP
Payne Haas said his focus is not on starting up any brawl on Wednesday night but if there is a repeat of last week’s dust-up, he is adamant that he won’t shy away.
Haas ran for 157 metres and made 22 tackles in a barnstorming performance during the 34-10 win but it was his fight with Tino Fa’asuamaleaui that stole the headlines.
There has naturally been speculation as to whether the two will come head-to-head again and Haas said that if it does happen, he is clear on what we will do.
“I won’t back down,” he told Nine News.
“It’s State of Origin. You never back down to anything like that, especially that kind of stuff.
“If it ever happens again, me or none of my teammates are going to back down.”
Haas also revealed his father has a strong vision for how he wants to use his son’s ripped jersey from the fiery game.
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Coates under injury cloud2:11
“He told me straight after the game that he wants the jersey straight away and he’s going to frame it,” he said.
Wayne Bennett said he has not had to speak to Fa’asuamaleaui and does not know what exactly to expect tomorrow.
Regardless of whether there is another brawl or not, Bennett is certain the Storm star will not back away in leading from the front in a footy-sense.
“He’s only going to get better and he’s not going to be intimidated by anybody,” he said.
“Let’s get out there and see what happens tomorrow night.”