Get the XXXX onside! NSW furious over Maroons antics
Queensland want our shield - and they're willing to stand off-side to steal it.
The Blues mission to save the State of Origin series includes a radical plan to combat a Queensland side that brazenly stood off-side in Origin I.
Ahead of tonight's game two blockbuster in front of close to 40,000 fans at ANZ Stadium, The Daily Telegraph has uncovered images that show just how far the Maroons are willing to push the boundaries to upset NSW and claim the series in Sydney.
Game one referee Gerard Sutton blew just five penalties in Adelaide - giving fans a rapid-fire, end-to-end game in the Origin series opener.
The Blues won the penalty count 3-2, but it's what the Maroons were allowed to get away with which has fired-up the Blues inner-sanctum.
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As these images show, Sutton should've pinged the Maroons for standing off-side both at the play-the-ball and inside the 10-metres on a further eight occasions.
The images clearly show Queensland's Daly Cherry-Evans, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi in front of the referee at the time of the Blues play-the-ball.
Blues Adviser Greg Alexander admitted to SEN Radio that NSW were hoodwinked by the Maroons tactic that included ignoring all risk of being penalised so they could cut-down the time and space that the NSW playmakers had to pass or kick the ball.
"Something I've noticed in the last seven Origins - penalty counts are low, players are allowed plenty of leniency in terms of how quickly they leave marker or the defensive line,'' Alexander said.
"You've got to be able to combat that.
"You know (Queensland) players are going to be off-side. That's just something you have to deal with.
"You need to have a plan to combat that and hopefully coming into this one we will and we'll be able to kick the ball better.''
With only Sutton in charge - as opposed to the two referee system of previous years - NSW coach Brad Fittler was asked yesterday if this created a chance for players to get away with standing off-side?
"Well (NSW prop) Daniel (Saifiti) couldn't,'' Fittler said.
"Daniel Saifiti got penalised twice early so..."
Fittler said "it would be good" if Sutton policed the 10-metre off-side rule with greater diligence tonight, but added that he wouldn't be drawn any further on pointing fingers at the referee.
"I'm not going to whinge about,'' Fittler said.
"I went in (to meet the NRL) a couple of years ago and we had some examples (of penalties) overwhelmingly and nothing changed.
"We get a chance to stop the ball going over the line every tackle, so that's our objective (tonight)."
In his first game as NSW captain, James Tedesco's ability to communicate with Sutton in the absence of Boyd Cordner will also be a major factor for the Blues.
"I think he's got a better poker face than Boyd (Cordner), he reads (the game) a bit more than Boyd.
"Boyd is just very emotional. This is just the start for Teddy, so let's see."
Despite losing game one 18-14 at the Adelaide Oval, last Wednesday night, NSW are $1.30 favourites with the TAB to defeat Queensland ($3.60) tonight.
The Blues have received 63 per cent of support from punters, which has resulted in them firming from an opening price of $1.35 to their current price of $1.30.
Due to the backing for NSW, the Maroons have drifted from $3.20 to $3.60 and are close to matching their pre-game price for Origin 1.
Originally published as Get the XXXX onside! NSW furious over Maroons antics