Maroons hoping to keep Folau flying high - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maroons hoping to keep Folau flying high

By Wayne Heming 02/06/2009 05:48:17 PM Comments (0)

Queensland will urge history-making referees Shayne Hayne and Tony Archer to crack down on any illegal tactics designed to ground high-flying winger Israel Folau in Wednesday's State of Origin showdown at Etihad Stadium.

Folau is the most feared player in the game when the bomb goes up.

He has scored some spectacular aerial tries in his brief career, including a screamer in last year's series decider at Stadium Australia.

The 20 year-old smiling assassin will carry the hopes of thousand of punters who've already made a fortune backing him to score the first try in a match - a feat he's already accomplished five times in 2009.

NRL clubs - including St George-Illawarra and Manly - have been accused of using questionable tactics on Folau by running angles to impede his path or even blatantly running him off track when the bomb goes up on his side of the field.

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak has confirmed he complained to officials after believing the Dragons used doubtful tactics on Folau in their round four clash this season.

"I raised my concerns after the St George game with Steve Clark because I felt Izzy was taken out a few times," Henjak told AAP.

"I know they looked at it and sent St George a message that they should have been penalised for their illegal tactics."

Queensland coach Mal Meninga said on Tuesday he'd seek a meeting with match officials so his players would know exactly what to expect from Hayne and Archer, the first pair to handle an Origin game under the controversial two referee system.

" I'm definitely concerned about it, especially if it's an illegal play," Meninga said, shooting to be the first coach in history to win four straight series.

"If it's an illegal play we hope the referees will stamp that out during the game not worry about it afterwards.

"We want them looking for any illegal ways to take Izzy out and to penalise any players who impeded his efforts to get to the ball fairly."

Many of Melbourne's AFL-loving fans could be wondering why Folau is not playing in their code with his acrobatic and athletic catches.

Meninga, a member of rugby league's Team of the Century, said he had never seen a player as good in the air as Folau.

"He's fantastic and he certainly is a weapon for us," he said.

NSW, who may yet change it's starting pack with speculation Michael Weyman could start in the front-row, face an experienced Queensland side standing on the verge of history.

A Queensland Origin icon, Meninga conceded a fourth straight series win would be a "massive" achievement.

"It would be a massive winning four in a row, it hasn't happened before," he said.

"We talked about it as a group but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves."

Meninga, whose Origin coaching record stands at 6-3, has stressed on his players the importance of winning the opening game which they've failed to do in two of the past three series.

"We talked about not really starting well in the three years I've been involved," said Meninga before Queensland's final training session at Etihad Stadium.

"There's been a focus on starting well and being successful in the Melbourne game because if we don't, it puts a lot of pressure on the football side going to Sydney for game two."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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