Plenty of niggle in Origin I: Thurston

Accused of grubby tactics by NSW, Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston admits there had been no shortage of niggling in State of Origin I but hopes a consistent 10 metres in defence will avoid game two fireworks.


Thurston has urged referees to crack down on the 10m rule in Origin II on June 17 at the MCG amid NSW claims they will retaliate if the Maroons use dirty tricks again.

The Blues say they were victims of cheap shots in their 11-10 Origin I loss in Sydney, with hooker Robbie Farah claiming Queensland got away with it because officials were conned by the Maroons’ “clean skins”.

Thurston admitted there was plenty of niggle in game one – from both sides – but felt there would be no Origin II dramas if referees Ben Cummins and Gerard Sutton provided a consistent 10m in defence.

“There always is (a bit of niggle),” Thurston told AAP.

“When the referees get the interpretation of the 10m rule right, it’s normally a very good game.

“They’ve done an outstanding job over the last couple of years of controlling that and keeping it to 10-11m.

“That opens up the game a little bit as well.”

Thurston admitted keeping a consistent 10m may be easier said than done following claims by NSW prop James Tamou that the Blues would use Queensland’s game one “cheap shots” as motivation.

“It’s hard to get it right. It’s a pressure cooker for us and them,” Thurston said.

“They’re not going to get every call right, but I think what the players and fans want is consistency.

“I’m pretty sure we will get that.”

Cummins and Sutton were retained after being in charge of Origin I, with NRL referees boss Tony Archer saying the pair remained the “form referees so far this season”.

Maroons back-rower Aidan Guerra defended Queensland’s game one display but admitted they would not be changing their approach to game two.

“That’s the first I have heard of it,” Guerra said when told of the NSW accusations.

“(But) Origin has always been a physical game.

“We have players in our side that really bring that physicality which makes it such a spectacle.

“We will be out giving our all.”

Guerra rated the series opener a “typical, hard Origin game”.

“There’s nowhere to hide in Origin,” he said.

“The brand of State of Origin is different to NRL – it always has been and with a bit of luck it always will be.”

Queensland held a weights session on Wednesday at AFL club St Kilda’s training base.

The Maroons’ preparation will click into another gear on Thursday when they hold their first field training session of their Melbourne camp.

It will be the first chance Daly Cherry-Evans – filling in for injured halfback Cooper Cronk – will have to combine with pivot Thurston for the Maroons ahead of game two.


Comments are closed.