You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Raudonikis rips into Klemmer in Origin-eve spray

It's no secret that NSW coach Brad Fittler brought in Blues legend Tommy Raudonikis into camp in Brisbane to speak to the players.

What is unknown is the details of that exchange. The next morning Fittler said it was vintage Raudonikis.

The man responsible for bringing in the famous 'cattledog' call – sparking a mass brawl in Origin in 1997 – hadn't lost his touch.

"He was trying to be controlled but he just couldn't help himself," Fittler said.

"He talked about the '97 year and then he started highlighting some players."

So we asked around and it turns out the man who he highlighted was the biggest and meanest of the lot – prop David Klemmer.

"When you played your first Origin, I wouldn't have picked ya let alone fed ya," Raudonikis fired off.

Needless to say, the team was in raptures.

"He got into me, old Tommy," Klemmer admitted.

"Apparently my first couple of Origin games he wouldn't have fed me. He got stuck into me, right up in my face. But he said I've come along really well and established myself in the team. I think he wanted to fight me, but eventually we shook hands and I appreciated it. He's one of the greats. He started all this stuff. To have him come into camp was pretty special.

"Clearly he wasn't too crash hot on me. I was mucking around with him. I was looking into his eyes and he was looking into mine. We were getting pretty fired up. He's a passionate man and I love that he just spoke his mind."

You could imagine the laughter coming from the rest of the team as they watched this pint-sized veteran shaping up to a giant.

But it wasn't all sprays and abuse. Tommy reserved his praise for James Maloney.

Blues five-eighth James Maloney.
Blues five-eighth James Maloney. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"He loves me, yeah, he loves me," Maloney smiled.

"He loves a little fella I reckon, being a little fella himself. He just said 'I love this little fella, he's tough as'. I'll take that because everyone tells me I can't tackle.

"It was awesome, he doesn't pull any punches and tells it how it is. Everyone understands how passionate he is about the Blues jersey. That's one thing you can never take away from Tommy, it means a lot to him."

Brandy reunited with wayward jersey

Also at the NSW Blues jersey presentation on Monday night, Greg Alexander was reunited with a famous piece of history.

This is the photo of Alexander being presented the Warriors jersey he wore in the club's very first game back in 1995.

Alexander, who had no idea it had gone missing, was handed the jersey by fellow Blues legend, Paul Sironen.

So this is how the story goes. Apparently Alexander was living with his brother-in-law Adam during his time in Auckland. Adam must have taken the jersey with him and passed it on to a friend. That friend then gave it to a friend who was a Warriors fan. That Warriors fan then split with his partner.

"The first thing my mate said to his sister was, 'I don't care what you do, but you get that jersey back' [from your ex],'' Sironen said.

Alexander was stunned to receive the jersey from the match played against the Broncos back on March 10, 1995.

"I haven't kept many jerseys, but that would have been one of them,'' Alexander said.

"I don't know how 'Ad' (brother-in-law) ended up with it. I think he used it as a bartering tool for a lift home after a drunken night.

"I was stunned."

Blues get beefy security detail

There was plenty of security at the Blues Brisbane hotel, Stamford Plaza, on the eve of the game.

The lifts were blocked off and well-dressed men patrolled the foyer. It turns out prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was staying at the same hotel.

He flew into Queensland on Tuesday to watch Wednesday night's State of Origin match at Suncorp Stadium. As far as we're aware, the prime minister – a proud New South Welshman – wasn't asked to deliver a Raudonikis-like pep talk.

Roosters' hope to play banned Radley

The Sydney Roosters have ignored the advice of the NRL and named hard-hitting forward Victor Radley in their team against the Gold Coast Titans this weekend despite him being unavailable for selection.

Radley was cited for a grade one dangerous contact charge on Melbourne's Christian Welch at the Adelaide Oval in their last game, with the Roosters accepting the one-match early plea.

Roosters forward Victor Radley.
Roosters forward Victor Radley. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

The Roosters are trying to count the Origin curtain raiser, the Under-20s Origin, as his one-game ban given Radley was likely to be selected.

The NRL is not having a bar of it and the Gold Coast Titans are asking questions in the background. You've got to admire their gumption.

DWZ's double-take on team song

Penrith Panthers fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was handed the responsibilities of leading the victory song after last week's shock win against the Warriors.

Most teams film it and post it on social media, but the Panthers had to do a second take because Watene-Zelezniak forgot the words. Well played, Dallin. The Panthers have only won 11 games this year.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners