Coach Laurie Daley says there is no point talking to the referee’s boss as it had no effect last year. (AAP: Dave Hunt)
Laurie Daley has called on Wednesday night’s State of Origin I referees to allow his team to play the open, free-flowing football the public want.
Blues coach Daley used today’s match eve media conference to send a clear message to whistle men Matt Cecchin and Gerard Sutton, describing last year’s series as one of the slowest he has seen.
With so many attacking threats in his side, Daley will want an open game at Lang Park but he expects a Maroons side, which is minus injured stars Jonathan Thurston and Greg Inglis, to attempt to slow the ruck.
He claimed 2016 series referees Ben Cummins and Sutton allowed Queensland too much latitude there.
“[Queensland] tried to slow it down last year,” said Daley, before the Blues broke camp at Kingscliff.
“We’re expecting the same this year. They tried to dominate the ruck, we didn’t have much room to move last year.
“The games were slow last year compared to usual Origin games. I hope it’s different this year.
“You just want them to referee the same as they do in the NRL. That’s all we’ve asked.”
No point asking for meeting with ref’s boss: Daley
Daley says if the Blues are freed up around the ruck they can play some razzle dazzle football. (AAP Image: Dan Himbrechts )
Asked if he had sought a meeting with NRL referees boss Tony Archer for clarification and to get his point across, Daley said he had not bothered because he did so last year to no avail.
It will now be up to rookie captain Boyd Cordner to ensure his side gets the rub of the green with the officials as he matches wits with veteran Queensland skipper Cameron Smith, known for his ability to manage referees.
NSW has traditionally been on the wrong end of the penalty count at Lang Park — winning just seven of 52 there since Origin’s inception in 1980.
“Boyd will bring his own style. He doesn’t say a hell of a lot but when he does people listen and take it on board,” Daley said.
“He’ll be a bit nervous I suppose but he’s smart enough and intelligent enough to know he needs to be aware of what’s going on on the field.
“I’m sure if he needs to have input into any of the decision and he will.”
The Blues will head into match one in the unfamiliar position of being favourites for a clash in Brisbane.
With Queensland depleted by injuries to Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Matt Scott, the Blues will start as favourites with the bookies.
Daley refused to embrace his side’s favouritism, saying Queensland thrived when their backs were to the wall and they were being written off.
Daley also dared Queensland to run the ball at centre Jarryd Hayne after Smith earlier warned the Maroons would test Hayne, who has played just three club games in that position.
He revealed hooker Nathan Peats was expected to play 80 minutes but utility Jack Bird and back-rower Wade Graham had trained there in case the Gold Coast dummy-half needed a spell.