Maroons ready for NSW surprises: Meninga - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maroons ready for NSW surprises: Meninga

23/06/2009 06:01:08 PM Comments (0)

After claims he conned the referees in Melbourne, Queensland coach Mal Meninga has turned the tables on his accusers suggesting NSW secretly campaigned to further speed up Wednesday night's high stakes Origin clash at ANZ Stadium.

Blues coach Craig Bellamy took aim at Queensland's 32-game Origin icon after NSW dropped the opening game in Melbourne.

He said Meninga had conned referees Tony Archer and Shayne Hayne and match officials into over-protecting high-flying Queensland dangerman Israel Folau.

Meninga revealed on match eve he'd been told by Wednesday night's whistle blowers to expect a bigger 10 metres than the one enforced in Melbourne which, if physically possible, would make the return game even quicker.

"They (referees) thought the teams were too close together early in the (Melbourne) game so they want a bigger 10 metres," said Meninga, asked if he'd approached the referees again.

"I really don't know what's going to happen there ... I thought the game was quick enough as it was in game one, but they seem to be hellbent on making it even quicker."

Quizzed if the call for a wider 10 metres had been instigated by NSW or had been a request from the Queensland camp, an amused Meninga said: "It wouldn't be a request from us".

"We might request something, but generally Queenslanders don't get their way."

NSW came home strongly against Queensland in Melbourne and fancy their chances if they can wear down Maroon big men, Petero Civoniceva and Steve Price.

Blues bench utility Craig Wing caused Queensland major defensive headaches in the second half in Melbourne.

But he's been ruled out with a hamstring injury leading to speculation Bellamy may order late changes to get the similarly-styled Kurt Gidley closer to the action in a bid to duplicate Wing's probing runs around the edges of the ruck.

There's talk of winger Jarryd Hayne, who also troubled Queensland in Melbourne, shifting to fullback with late inclusion Josh Morris coming into the side of the wing.

It would free up Gidley to play a floating role to work in with hooker Robbie Farah.

"I guess having (Craig) Wing out of the side it allows Kurt to go into the middle and maybe play in the halves or back-row or maybe at hooker, I'm not sure what Craig's got in mind," said Meninga, one win away from Origin history and a record fourth straight series.

"He's going to be dangerous in the middle of the ruck and having him and Jarryd (Hayne) there and maybe Farah at one time.

"To have two or three attacking around our middle could cause us a few problems."

Meninga, who refused to buy into whether Bellamy would be dumped should NSW be sentenced to an unwanted place in Origin history, didn't need to imagine the pressure his rival was under - he's been there himself.

"I know how they feel, we were in the same situation in 2006 (0-1 down after losing the three previous series).

"It puts a lot of pressure on the footy side."

Meninga said admissions by skipper Darren Lockyer that his defence had slipped and forward Sam Thaiday that his form was down for Brisbane showed his players were honest in appraising themselves.

"Honesty is a really good thing," he said.

"We're fairly honest in the way we appraise ourselves and fairly honest in the way we play rugby league."

Lockyer, 32, and possibly playing his last Origin series, accepted criticism of his recent defence the day he entered camp and made it a focus heading into his 28th Origin.

"It's good isn't it?" said Meninga.

"He's our leader, he's our captain and he looks himself in the mirror and says he hasn't been playing as well as he can."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news