NSW urge referees to avoid Queensland Origin wrestle-mania

Caught: NSW captain Boyd Cordner is tackles by the Maroons. Picture: Getty Images
Caught: NSW captain Boyd Cordner is tackles by the Maroons. Picture: Getty Images

The NSW Blues have implored the referees not to allow the contest to be dragged down by Queensland's wrestling tactics as they look to wrap up the series in Sydney on Wednesday night.

The Blues know Queensland will place a far greater emphasis on slowing down the ruck to minimise the destruction the NSW forward pack inflicted in the opening game of the series, won 28-4 by Laurie Daley's men.

The Suncorp Stadium ambush last month was rated as one of the most entertaining games of football in recent memory so it's no surprise the Blues want game two officiated in a similar manner, with NSW prop Aaron Woods hoping the referees won't allow the game to be spoiled by the Maroons' expected wrestling tactics.

"It just depends on how the refs are going to ref," Woods said.

"If they were as open as game one ... I thought there wasn't a lot of wrestling in game one. It was very quick and very physical ... Just ref the game the same as they did in the first game.

"I spoke to a lot of people who said it was the best game they've seen in a long time, if not ever. That was one of the quickest games of footy I've ever played. I just hope they stick to the same systems they do."

Woods believes the selection of Melbourne's Tim Glasby on the bench is a reflection of Queensland's desire to wrestle and win the ruck after being dominated by the NSW big men in game one.

Andrew Fifita and David Klemmer chewed through the metres, leaving a dent in the Queensland pack. While Glasby isn't renowned for his ability to dent a defensive line, the Blues know how effective he can be in halting the momentum of opposition teams.

"Once he gets on, he creates that steel in the middle," Woods said of Glasby's impact at the Storm.

"Playing against him, he's a really good wrestler. He just slows that ruck down completely. I haven't played with him but he could be a really good talker on the field. He gets everyone in their positions, little things like that. They're the things that go unnoticed when it comes to stats.

"Just his effectiveness as well. Where he makes his tackles and how he slows it down. Most games are won up front – you want to play with a lot of energy through the middle."

Blues skipper Boyd Cordner echoed Woods' sentiment, admitting the Blues were preparing for Queensland to try and wrestle their way to victory in a bid to keep the series alive heading to Suncorp Stadium for game three.

"With the talk from them saying they got rolled through the middle we're expecting it to be like that ... a bit more wrestle and maybe them trying to slow the game up a bit," Cordner said.

"There's also been a lot of talk about them coming out to target Fifita, but that's going to be a tough job because we've got a lot of strike across the park. You've got to look at the player's strength first and with how Fifita played – his attacking game was awesome – I think they'll try to put numbers in the tackle on him and try to stop his offload.

"In saying that, I've played with players before like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in 2015 at the Roosters where I could hear them running down saying, 'Left foot, left foot' and he would still use the left foot on them and go through. Especially in Origin, once the game gets a lot quicker and fatigue sets in I think that's when Fifita is at his most dangerous."