Laurie Daley fires back at Origin cheat claims
NSW can smell blood in the water ahead of Origin II, with Blues coach Laurie Daley labelling accusations of cheating and Queensland's lack of loyalty at the selection table as clear signs of panic from the Maroons.
After waking to headlines the Blues had cheated their way to victory in game one, Daley went on the front foot by delivering his own dirt file on the Maroons illegal play in the series opener.
It came in the form of seven still photographs of Queensland players being offside, rivalling the images displayed in the Courier Mail newspaper on Monday which showed Blues players stretching the rules in game one.
While measured in his response, Daley was clearly irked by the cheating accusation - one he believes highlights Queensland's desperation as they stare down the prospect of their seven-year Origin reign coming to an end.
"It's a pretty strong word and I think anyone would be disappointed that they were called a cheat," Daley said.
"We just play by the rules.
"Everyone pushes the boundaries and I can show you clips if you want of them doing all sorts of things that we weren't happy about, but we've made no complaints."
Queensland believe the tactic is being used to thwart the dummy half play of Maroons skipper Cameron Smith, who on Monday added his voice to the debate.
"In certain parts of the field their markers were consistently not square," Smith told reporters.
"We just want consistency. If they are going to defend like that then so be it. We'll defend like that too."
While Daley followed through with his threat, meeting with referees boss Daniel Anderson was not on the cards, despite the rookie coach claiming the Maroons were attempting to intimidate referees Shayne Hayne and Ashley Klein ahead of Wednesday night's return bout.
He did however offer a none too subtle reminder of the Blues' poor run with referees at Suncorp Stadium.
"It's interesting they've come out and said those type of things - obviously they're trying to influence the referee," Daley said.
"The last eight times we've played here we've only won the penalty count on one occasion so they must be doing a fairly good job of it."
Combined with the Maroons' shock decision to dump Ashley Harrison and David Shillington - both mainstays of a group which has now won seven series in a row - the Blues believe cracks are beginning to appear in the Queensland empire.
"They've made changes which they haven't done in the past, they've always had that pick and stick philosophy," Daley said.
"They lose a game, under pressure, all of a sudden they make some changes."