Blues want quick tempo for Origin II
Damien Cook of the NSW Blues poses for a photograph before a training session at Coogee Oval in Sydney, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AAP Image/David Moir)
NSW want to take the referees out of the equation in Sunday's State of Origin game at ANZ Stadium, declaring their intention to dominate the ruck with their up-tempo style.
Queensland have spoken this week about the need to limit Blues hooker Damien Cook, after his runs out of dummy-half helped dismantle the Maroons in the Blues' Origin I win.
Just five penalties were blown in the series opener after both teams entered the match with the belief no leniency would be shown.
That count - coupled with NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg's call last week for referees to stop "nitpicking" - could leave both sides coming into Sunday with a different expectation on penalties.
It's prompted fears from the likes of former NSW half Matthew Johns that Queensland could deliberately slow the ruck down and push the boundaries with the markers being square to limit Cook's opportunities.
But Blues forward Jack de Belin said the team had to take it upon themselves to ensure the Maroons don't nullify their advantage through the middle.
"We've just got to fight hard to play the ball," de Belin told AAP.
"Hopefully the referees don't let them get away with too much. We've just got to counteract that by running the ball extra hard.
"That suits us. We're a young side, we're fit and the ball in play is going to tire them out a lot more than us."
NSW players also have the belief that planning to shut down Cook's speed is one thing, but doing it is another.
The South Sydney hooker has terrorised the NRL all season out of dummy-half, leading all hookers for linebreaks, tackle busts and metres, while sitting equal-first in try-assists and tries.
Queensland are also without Cameron Smith, who has become an expert in controlling the tempo of the game throughout his career.
And regardless, NSW captain Boyd Cordner said nothing would change from the series opener despite the lack of penalties.
"I think ruck speed and everything like that, it's always a step up in Origin. Everything seems quicker, so I don't think that will be an issue," he said.
"We've trained the way we did in game one and how we feel is best, and what can benefit us.
"We won't waiver from that, even though penalties weren't blown we still believe our systems can work best if we nail it."
It comes as Cook's opposing hooker, Andrew McCullough, admitted Queensland needed to look closely at limiting Cook's opportunities.
"You've got to limit his space and we need to do that across the board," McCullough said.
"They've got some quick outside backs as well and Cooky did really well to feed those guys the ball. It's a bit of a flow-on effect.
"You can't limit someone's speed but you can limit the time they have with it."
© AAP 2018