You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Queensland will seek clarity around some rule interpretations with prop Christian Welch concerned the series opener may be unrecognisable to the Origin football they enjoyed even last year.

Welch believes Origin has been built on pressure, line speed, aggression and tight arm-wrestle contests with low scoring which is completely opposite to the end-to-end contests that have proliferated the NRL this year due to rule changes and increased use of the six-again call.

Traditionally the best Origin contests have operated under a looser interpretation of certain rules with referee discretion allowing the game to naturally flow.

Welch said on Thursday there are fears about how strongly certain rules will be policed for Wednesday’s series opener in Townsville.

"It’s hard to compare Origin to NRL these days with the amount of rule changes, you don’t actually know what the game or product is going to be like," Welch said.

Cameron Munster trains with the Maroons on Thursday.
Cameron Munster trains with the Maroons on Thursday. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"There used to be a pretty distinct difference. I guess we will see how it’s played out on Wednesday.

"Certainly as a bit of a purist you love those arm wrestle, field position battles and the 8-6, 10-6 score lines. I used to love teams having to fight so hard to get out of their own end.

“We just don’t see that, it’s kind of end-to-end footy now with very high scorelines.

Tino ready for Haas rematch

"For me it’s not that appealing but to new fans and broadcasters it might be I guess, but yeah that is what Origin has been, the grind, the arm wrestle, the real gritty kind of rugby league game.

"I guess we will see if that’s continued on Wednesday."

Offside penalties are typically about as rare as a Paul Gallen pass in Origin, but now referees can simply wave "six again" for even the slightest early jump by the defensive line there are concerns attempts to build pressure will instead just give the attacking team an easy escape.

"Yeah, it’s going to be hard. It really stings you when you give away a six again," Welch said.

"We just have to try to be disciplined. You can have line speed but you need to be disciplined with that."

Green is confident both teams have elite players able to control the giant momentum swings that have led to the increased blocks of rapid scoring seen weekly in the NRL.

However, the new Queensland coach is worried the Blues and Maroons have the talent to punish teams reduced to 12 men with the sin bin more frequently used due to the high contact crackdown.

"It’s not uncommon for teams to have the ball for seven, eight or nine sets in a row particularly with the six-again rule," Green told on day one of Origin camp.

Why do you hate the other state?

"The guys who are the dominant decision-makers in the game are very good at controlling possession, so to be able to hold your hands up defensively during that is going to be the challenge.

"I think it’s certainly harder to keep that momentum for that amount of time just given the talent level of the players defending.

"But I also think if it’s 12 men, if you’re playing against 12 men or with 12 men, those players playing Origin will not miss those opportunities so I think that can really hurt a team if that happens.

"They [the players] have had a few weeks playing under those rules now so I don’t think I need to spend a lot of time on it. We will discuss it as a team how we’re going to manage it if that happens, but as I said they’re used to it now."

Maroons stars reminisce at Bundaberg fan day

Welch said Green will "probably have a discussion" with the NRL prior to the game so the players are clear of the fine line they must tread.

Regardless of those conversations, the front-row leader believes he can still execute the type of workhorse performance that can help Queensland win the game.

"I think Origin is a bit of a different style and focus. Your running metres I don’t think that results in a win. I think it’s about your pressure and your effort off the ball," he said.

"A big focus we will be knuckling down on is pressuring the kickers, the first two tackles with our line speed early.

"You know they’ve got Brian To’o who starts their sets well so we have to put a lot of effort into winning that field position battle."

Maroons officials confirmed after training on Thursday that bench utility AJ Brimson did complete training with his teammates despite not being present during their warm-up.

Brimson (knee), Cameron Munster (foot) and Harry Grant (hamstring) have carried injury concerns into camp but the Maroons said all players completed the team’s first training session.

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