BACK ON BOARD: Johnathan Thurston is set to return to the Maroons line-up tonight after missing Origin I.
BACK ON BOARD: Johnathan Thurston is set to return to the Maroons line-up tonight after missing Origin I. DAVE HUNT

Walters slams NSW for pressuring referees

QUEENSLAND coach Kevin Walters has slammed NSW for trying to influence the referees ahead of Wednesday night's do-or-die Origin II clash for the Maroons at ANZ Stadium.

Blues coach Laurie Daley and a number of his players on Tuesday spoke about how they were prepared for the Maroons to wrestle their way back into the series, with Daley calling it a "concern" that Queensland may want to turn it into a slower game.

Southern media also took aim at Queensland's Melbourne Storm quartet Tim Glasby, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers for being among the top five Origin players for wrestling tactics.

But Walters was not impressed on Origin eve, saying it was not in the spirit of the game to put pressure on referees Matt Cecchin and Gerard Sutton.

"I'm a bit disappointed with Laurie and the NSW players with all that," Walters said ahead of his team's captain's run at ANZ Stadium.

"The last time we were here (in Sydney) for an Origin game, the penalty count was 12-4. At half-time it was 11-1 to NSW.

"I just don't think it's in the right spirit of the game to try to use the referees to influence the game in some way.

"I was taught as a young boy to respect who's in control of the game. We have a lot of respect for Gerard and Matt on what they did in game one.

"I just don't see why Laurie and NSW want to drag it up and put the pressure on the referees when they really shouldn't be doing that.

"It's up to the referees to police the game. We'll play the football the referees will allow us to play."

When asked if the game two showdown would turn into a "WrestleMania", Walters denied it.

"I haven't seen Hulk Hogan or any of those guys," he said.

"We're going to play football. That's what we do best. We won't be wrestling, we'll be playing football."

Walters said Queensland were expected to be 1-17, with Johnathan Thurston cleared to play despite the fact his right knee is still strapped.

News Corp Australia


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