NSW prop James Tamou says the Blues will be targeting his Maroons opposition and Cowboys teammate Matt Scott. Credit: Robb Cox. Copyright: NRL Photos.
NSW front-rower James Tamou believes Queensland may regret selecting Matt Scott as their only specialist prop for next Wednesday's State of Origin opener in Brisbane.
The Maroons' eight-year dominance has been largely underpinned by their top-quality prop rotation involving the likes of Petero Civoniceva, Steve Price, David Shillington, Ben Hannant, Scott and Sam Thaiday, who is injured for game one.
However, this year Maroons coach Mal Meninga has resisted the temptation to select a full-time bookend to fill the gap left by the versatile Thaiday, opting for Sydney Roosters back-rower Aiden Guerra instead.
Nate Myles, who usually plays in the second-row for the Gold Coast, will start alongside Scott, with Canberra back-row enforcer Josh Papalii the other prop option on the bench.
This was a tactic that backfired on NSW in game one in 2012 when Tamou was the only prop selected by Ricky Stuart, with Paul Gallen starting in the front-row as Queensland overpowered the Blues on their way to a 18-10 win in Melbourne.
"I do think we will have an advantage, because they'll be looking for him (Scott) a lot more and it minuses his minutes a bit," said Tamou, who'll start alongside West Tigers' prop Aaron Woods.
"Nate Myles will do his job without a doubt but Matty Scott will add a bit more to it and hopefully they will use him more and he'll get tired."
Tamou forms one of the the best front-row partnerships in the NRL with Scott at North Queensland and there's no bigger fan of his talents than the New Zealand-born 25-year-old who has been tipping Blues coaches on the best way to neutralise his influence.
"He's the best prop in the world in my opinion," he said.
"With Matty Scott he just does his job, that's it.
"He plays his 20 minutes, gets tired comes off.
"But in that 20 minutes he doesn't show any weaknesses.
"He's always competitive and moving up and we have to work from markers to take his legs early."