Captains refute fiery Origin finale
Opposing Origin captains Paul Gallen and Cameron Smith have dismissed suggestions that the gloves will come off for Wednesday night's dead rubber at Suncorp Stadium as the match slowly shapes into a potentially fiery one.
On the surface it appears the constant niggling tactics deployed both Queensland and New South Wales throughout the opening two games of the Series have receded, although given that the Maroons will be itching for redemption, the fireworks may not be restricted to the pre-match entertainment.
The running battle between Johnathan Thurston and Josh Reynolds was the main talking point coming out of the Blues' Series-clinching win in Game II, which featured an uncharacteristic facial examination by Thurston on Reynolds.
No stranger to the same tactics, Blues skipper Paul Gallen was adamant that play-the-ball niggle was not on NSW's agenda as they target their first Origin clean-sweep in 14 years.
"Personally and as a team we are going out there to execute a game plan," Gallen said.
"The niggle – I'm sure Queensland and certainly for us – we haven't spoken about it and we aren't going out there to niggle anyone and give anyone cheap shots or stuff like that.
"We'll come to play and whatever happens happens – neither team will take a backwards step and that's just the way it is. It is part of the game and it's great for you guys (the media) to talk about but it's not a concern for us as players.
"We've trained really well over all three camps and we're going into [Wednesday night] pretty confident. We came here to win the Series, we've won the Series and now our goal has evolved and we want to win 3-0."
Not convinced with the way Game Two was handled, the NRL's referees elite performance manager Tony Archer dumped senior whistle blower Shayne Hayne for Game III with Gerard Sutton to join Ben Cummins out in the middle.
The consensus stemming from the refereeing in Game Two was that the game was slowed down around the ruck and as a result both sides produced numerous cheap shots against their opponents.
Having been on a winning side for both Origin contests thus far, Gallen wasn't overly critical of the refereeing, but did suggest that the 10 metres open up a little more to allow a more open and free-flowing match.
"I thought the way the referees handled the first game and in the second game as well – they let the teams get away with a lot," he said.
"They could have probably opened the 10 metres up a little bit more but apart from that it's a State of Origin game and no one wants to see penalties blown, they just want to see the boys go out there and rip into each other."
Maroons skipper Smith also acknowledged that the niggling tactics of Game Two have the potential to surface again, although similarly to his NSW counterpart, those issues haven't been raised amongst the Queensland squad.
"You don’t go into a game thinking, This is going to be an up-tempo game or This is going to be a game with niggle.
"It's just [a matter of] seeing how the game pans out and at the end of the day there are two referees out there to officiate the game and dictate the way it's going to be played.
"If there is niggle, then stop it."