Brawling could be on the cards for State of Origin clash
A CENTRAL figure in one of the craziest and wildest finishes to a State of Origin game says Wednesday night's final clash of the 2014 series against NSW has the potential to erupt.
The Blues wrapped up the series with a 6-4 win in game two in Sydney last month in what was a spiteful and at times nasty clash. It also resulted in the game's number one referee, Shayne Hayne, being punted for game three.
Veteran Maroons centre Justin Hodges stopped short of tipping a return to the bad days of all-in brawls, but he said if the match officials failed to keep a lid on things early, the potential was there for the game to end in uproar like the dead rubber at the same ground in 2009.
Chaos erupted when NSW forward Justin Poore incited a vicious brawl after he picked up an unconscious Steve Price by the jersey and dropped him. Price had been knocked out moments before in a fight with Blues prop Brett White.
Poore's actions triggered crazy scenes as players from both sides charged in, resulting in NSW forward Trent Waterhouse being sent off and Price being carried off.
When the dust settled and some order was restored, rival forwards Ben Creagh and Sam Thaiday were sin binned and Queensland half Johnathan Thurston was charged with kicking Blues winger David Williams in the face.
A furious Hodges later described Poore's actions as a "dog act".
Asked if Wednesday night's game could be spiced with ill-feeling, Hodges told APN: "It's Origin mate, anything can happen.
"There was a lot of crap in the game (in Sydney). "Both teams are passionate, both teams want to win."
Hodges said despite winning eight series in a row, the players felt they had let down their fans by failing to extend the run to nine.
"We want to leave this series having won at least one game, we don't want to lose 3-0 after what this team has accomplished," he said.
Thurston, who was guilty of slapping NSW player Beau Scott in the face with an open hand in the second half in Sydney, said changes to the rules had contributed to the players' frustrations.
"There wasn't much footy played (in game two) that's for sure," he said. "But the boys can't blow off the steam and get on with it and the frustration builds throughout the whole game."
That view was backed up by team-mate Sam Thaiday who was involved in the chaotic finish to game three in 2009, and said players felt like the game was now, "handbags at 10 paces".
"Everyone is kinda too scared to do anything because you don't want to be sitting on the sideline and letting your (NRL) team down," Thaiday said.
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