Origin captains urge refs: Don't overreact tonight
RIVAL captains Paul Gallen and Cameron Smith have urged Origin's new referee's team against over-reacting in tonight's "dead rubber" State of Origin clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Emotions are still running high, with deposed champions Queensland believing NSW adopted unsavoury tactics to defuse their attacking power in Origin II in Sydney last month as the Blues clinched their first series since 2005.
However NSW players believe much of the niggle came from Queensland, especially five-eighth Johnathan Thurston who was involved in two second-half incidents that resulted in penalties to the Blues.
It was clear senior referees Shayne Hayne and Ben Cummins failed to take full control of the game early in the first half as several elbows, facial massages and high shots were let go under the old "it's Origin" interpretation.
Hayne has been dumped and replaced by rookie Gerard Sutton tonight.
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Smith said the referees would dictate how the game unfolded and whether fans would see a more open contest.
"I'm not sure how it's going to be played. At the end of the day there are two referees out there who are going to determine how the game is going to be played," said Smith, admitting the players were disappointed with their execution against a NSW team whose defence was magnificent in the firts two games.
"It would be nice to see a big 10 metres. We've got a fair few weapons in our attack. I think it was a tactic by the Blues to slow the game down and keep us at close quarters."
Both sides have promised to play with pride and passion and give the third game everything despite NSW having already secured the series.
Gallen said it would be a tragedy if the referees came out and tried to take over the game by whistling up a string of early penalties because of the criticism from Origin II.
"It's State of Origin, nobody wants to see penalties blown, they want to see the two teams come out and rip into each other like they did in the first two games," he said.
"The first 20 minutes of game one was the most intense I have ever played, and game two was as physical and brutal as I've ever been involved in.
"I thought the way they handled game one was okay, but in the second game they let both teams get away with a lot."