Maroons plead with referee for fair go - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maroons plead with referee for fair go

By Steve Jancetic and Wayne Heming 10/06/2008 06:07:59 PM Comments (0)

Queensland coach Mal Meninga has implored referee Tony Archer to give his side a fair go in Origin II on Wednesday night as the Maroons try to send the series back to Sydney for a decider.

Meninga claims his side was hard done by in game one, suffocated for time and space around the ruck, but both he and Blues counterpart Craig Bellamy have denied they will seek a pre-game meeting with Archer.

While Meninga admitted his team would have to improve to avoid becoming just the third Queensland outfit to lose a series at home, he claimed Archer would also have to lift his game to give the home side any chance.

"I do expect a better performance, a fairer performance," Meninga said of Archer's game one form.

"I'm quite certain as we do with players, he would have gone through his game and seen some areas to improve in."

The Blues nullified the brilliance of Queensland hooker Cameron Smith with fast-moving markers at ANZ Stadium, but the Maroons believe they were too quick out of the gate.

"From a refereeing point of view we just need Mr Archer, who is the best referee in the competition, to ref like he normally does," Meninga said.

Asked if Archer refereed Origin I differently to the way he referees NRL games, Meninga said: "It was different.

"It took us by surprise.

"We were aware of it during the game but we couldn't adapt to it so we blame ourselves for it."

The Blues believe Queensland's campaign against Archer smacks of desperation, Bellamy going so far as to label the home side a bunch of whingers.

Either way, the issue is likely to be dealt with in the opening ten minutes with both sides testing Archer's interpretation in front of a sold-out pro-Queensland Suncorp Stadium crowd.

"We'll be very disappointed if they get their way ... Tony Archer's a very experienced referee, (referee's boss) Robert Finch has been through all this before," Bellamy said.

"There's rules and there's key performance indicators that they talk about in the ruck and at markers.

"There's rules there, if you break them you get penalised.

"Obviously they're trying to influence the referee but I don't know why, they're wasting their breath to be quite honest."

While the Blues have centred much of their preparation on trying to exploit the defensive frailties of Queensland halves Scott Prince and Johnathan Thurston, they also fear their own No.7 Peter Wallace will also be targeted.

Wallace is NSW's chief tactical kicker and the Blues know they need to keep him away from notorious charge-down specialist Steve Price.

Price missed game one due to a hamstring injury which has limited him to just three NRL matches this season and Wallace was given all the time in the world to peg the Queenslanders back in their own half.

NSW are wary of the veteran prop after he clipped former Blues halfback Brett Kimmorley in last year's third Origin game, ending his season.

"Price will be at him at some stage," Bellamy said of Wallace.

"Steve copped a little bit after last year and I haven't seen him doing a whole heap of that this year but he hasn't played much this year.

"There's rules there, he sticks to the rules we've got no problems there."

A NSW win would give them the edge in the overall tally with both sides locked at 40 wins apiece and 12 series wins each.

It would also be NSW's first series win since 2005 and end a period of Queensland dominance many predicted would extend into the next decade.

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