Slater says sniping is part of Origin
Queensland fullback Billy Slater says sniping between camps has been part of State of Origin’s mind games since day one but it’s the 80 minutes on the field that matter most.
Coach Mal Meninga used a trip to Arthur Beetson’s home town of Roma on Wednesday to fire a broadside at Blues coach Ricky Stuart for focusing on the referees in Origin I in Melbourne last month.
“They (NSW) just don’t get it,” Meninga told a packed lunch in Beetson country where thousands of maroon-clad fans turned out.
“If we get beaten we just put our hand up and say ‘we should play better’ – they (NSW) don’t seem to have that sort of mentality.
“We understand the referees have got a tough job to do (and) all we can do is play by their rulings.
“We just get on and do the job. That’s who we are.”
Stuart was highly critical of a number of decisions by inexperienced whistleblowers Matt Cecchin and Ben Cummins he believed were crucial to the result which favoured Queensland 18-10.
Cummins has survived but will control the game with the game’s most senior referee Tony Archer under whom Queensland have a great success rate.
Slater, who admitted his form under the high ball at Etihad Stadium had been “a little off” said Origin was a “unique beast” in that the media hype surrounding the game was different to any other sporting event in the country.
“That’s Origin, isn’t it?” said the Melbourne genius.
“Part of Origin is trying to get the upper hand in the media in every game, every year.
“It’s totally unique to anything else. I’ve played in grand finals and the week build-up is totally different to an Origin.
“There’s not the hatred in the grand finals, but there certainly is in Origin and both sides try and get the upper hand and that little edge in the media.
“But when it comes down to it, it’s the 80 minutes on Wednesday night that’s going to count, that all we have to worry about as players.”
Giant interchange forward Dave Taylor trained with his head bandaged after falling out of his bed on Monday while prop Matt Scott joined the camp late on Thursday.
Slater said the players would rally around the big-hearted Scott who has spent the week with his ill mother Diane who has throat cancer.
“He’s one of our good mates and we certainly want to support him in any way possible,” said Slater.
Three of Queensland’s indigenous players, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston and Justin Hodges unveiled a plague to commemorate the Beetson Pond.
“Arthur is a big part of Queensland history,” said Slater.
“He started the passion and we’re all aware of the contribution he made – not just to the Queensland people and Queensland jersey but to his people and the Aboriginal community.”
Slater was confident Thaiday would not let racial remarks posted on Twitter, allegedly by a member of NSW supporter group Blatchy’s Blues, upset his focus.© AAP 2013
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