Here we go again
SYDNEY ? Queensland has appealed to referee Steven Clark not to allow a desperate NSW to spoil tonight's Origin blockbuster by "jumping the gun'' defensively.
Queensland's game plan will be much the same as Origin I ? smash NSW up the middle with their giant forwards and bring their smaller men like Billy Slater, Matt Bowen and Shaun Berrigan into the fray when they tire.
But coach Michael Hagan fears what potentially looms as one of Origin's truly great encounters could be marred if Clark, handling his third Origin, allows NSW to get out of the defensive blocks too early, stifling Queensland's power game. "I've got no doubt in the world they'll be trying to spoil how we play,'' said Hagan after discussing his concerns with referee's coaching director Robert Finch today.
"We wanted to put our appreciation of Paul Simpkins' performance in game one on record,'' added Hagan.
"Steven Clark has a lot to live up to in regards to the quality of the game (tonight).'' Hagan felt Simpkins kept a consistently good 10 metres, a tidy ruck and allowed the game to flow for 80 minutes, making it a memorable match.
"That's what we're expecting (tonight), a good 10 metres, a tidy ruck and no jumping the gun, those type of standards,'' said Hagan.
"We don't want players jumping the gun (defensively) that can spoil a game and it's the referees' responsibility to control those aspects of play. "They're going to come off their line really hard and fast tomorrow night because our go forward was so good in game one.
"That's the challenge for us to overcome and for the referee to keep a decent 10 metres and make sure they're not going early on us.''
Queensland got on an early roll in game one, but NSW finished all over them in the second half, outscoring them four tries to two.