Queensland coach Paul Green fears State of Origin could be decided by an "innocuous incidental contact" sin bin and has implored the referees to let the players determine who wins despite the high contact crackdown.
Head of football Graham Annesley has made it clear this year’s Origin series would be strictly officiated in line with the recent high contact crackdown in the NRL.
Green said he hoped common sense would be taken into the biggest game of the year so the result is determined by the players not the man with the whistle.
"I think we would hate to see an Origin decided on an innocuous incidental contact with the head," Green said.
"It would be very difficult to play Origin [with 12 men], it’s hard enough playing Origin with 13 when you’ve got the best players on there.
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"If teams get down to 12 or even 11 it’s probably going to go a long way to deciding the outcome and I think we’re all probably [against that].
"As I said, safety aside, but I don’t think we’d like to see an Origin or a series decided by a decision like that.
"I think also part of Origin is the collisions, the contact and the aggressive side of it, all legal I’m talking about too. That is what makes Origin special so I would hate to see that go out of the game."
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Green said he would speak to referees’ boss Jared Maxwell and while his own skipper Daly Cherry-Evans offered up the concept of a gentleman’s agreement between players in regards to milking, he doesn’t believe that will stand up under the pressure of an Origin when the game is in the balance.
"I don’t think anyone likes seeing that [milking] but it’s going to happen," Green said.
"There is a lot on the line and players play for an advantage. I’m not telling them to do that, the players I don’t think want to do that, but in the heat of the battle you don’t have long to think about it."
The Maroons completed their training preparations on Tuesday with centre Dane Gagai overcoming his bout of tonsillitis to join the team, while AJ Brimson trained fully despite battling knee soreness all camp and will take his place on the bench as utility.
Harry Grant (hamstring) and Cameron Munster (foot) have completed every session to be ready to play after four weeks out with injury, but Green said Grant could play anywhere between "40 and 80 minutes" with Brimson his likely replacement at dummy half.
"Yeah, I think [Brimson could do a job for us there through the middle," Green said.
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"His strengths as a player I think can be used through there at dummy half then it’s also insurance anywhere for us in the outside backs."
Green admitted the Maroons preparation had been far from ideal given the injury uncertainty and believes they are the Origin underdogs despite being title holders with the advantage of playing the opening two games of the series in Queensland.
"We are [underdogs]. Because we’ve had a pretty disrupted preparation and they’re probably on paper a better team than us," Green said.
"It’s been a disrupted preparation there is no doubt, but they’re our best players and we want to pick the best team possible. It’s not perfect."