New South Wales prop James Tamou has a message for Queensland media labelling the Blues side as "dogs" – you lot started it.
Asked about a Courier Mail story that lists instances of Blues players niggling their opponents in their series-deciding Origin II win, and ignores Maroons players equally long list of indiscretions, Tamou said Blues players had simply started pushing back against what Queensland had started.
"I have seen a lot of videos in the past and footage where I can point out a number of Queensland players have done something here or there to myself or other New South Welshman," said Tamou, who was more than happy to have a shot at his Cowboys teammate Johnathan Thurston.
"We saw in game two when Thurston – it was one of the first punches thrown in a niggly way with Thurston slapping Beau Scott in the face. Small things like that started off and I think this year we are only starting to push back. I guess that’s why we have taken the series there."
He said the Queensland players had been trying to rile the Blues up enough for one of them to throw a punch and get sent to the sin-bin – and it nearly worked.
"They will really push the point where one of our guys will clench the fist and want to throw one. That’s how they get under our skin. It’s up to us to restrain ourselves and do our job.
"I’ve had to restrain myself a whole heap. It’s not just myself, the boys that the Queenslanders get under. I see it in their eyes. As a teammate it’s up to me to back them up."
He said the evidence was there for everyone to see.
"I think the whole public saw the way they were acting. They were trying to go to that boiling point to make us look like the bad guys. They are definitely that type of team that if they were losing the game, they would try and get under the skin to the point of making us to try and throw a punch."
He said the new rules outlawing punches being thrown had increased the amount of niggle in the game – especially from the smaller players who are no longer worried about having to square off against the big men.
"The little guys are the worst. They get under your skin the most. Then they run around and hide behind the big fellas. Without throwing a punch it’s come out and done it more in the open eye," Tamou said.
"Thurston for example, his normal characteristic in club footy, he is never normally like that. It’s what Origin brings."
He said it was good to see Blues five-eighth Josh Reynolds getting the Queenslanders' skin – with the added bonus of the scoreboard pressure frustrating the Maroons.
"That's where most of it came from, the scoreboard," he said.
"Being in the sky blue jumper it was good to see Josh sort of give it to him in that sense. Giving it to each other. But I've never seen him like that in the Cowboys jumper."
Asked why he had been to ready to get stuck into his Cowboys teammate for the media, Tamou just laughed: "Yeah, I can't wait until Mad Monday I'll tell you that much!"