DCE keen on gentleman's Origin 'agreement'

·3-min read

Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans has called for a gentleman's agreement to stop players exploiting the NRL's high-contact crackdown in Wednesday's State of Origin opener.

An ugly side-effect of the referees' strict punishment of high tackles since last month's Magic Round has been a rise in players staying down or overreacting while appealing for penalties when any high contact is made in a tackle.

NSW captain James Tedesco set the tone on Sunday by imploring both camps "play in the spirit of the game" while on Monday NRL head of football Graham Annesley said players could be charged with contrary conduct by the match review committee for staging.

"I think it's going to be a bit of a gentleman's agreement to be honest," Cherry-Evans said on Monday.

"We aren't gladiators, but we're playing a very heavy contact sport.

"Everyone's going to put everything out there and I don't think there will be too much of that stuff going on.

"That's sportsmanship at the end of the day ... Origin is a different beast and everyone is looking forward to playing their hardest and toughest."

NBA players who "flop" in an effort to draw a foul and AFL players who duck into contact looking for high contact carry a reputation among their colleagues and Annesley anticipated the NRL fraternity was no different.

"I imagine you wouldn't be too popular with your teammates and your opposition players if you're known for doing that," he said.

"But I'd like to think that our game is different to some other games, and players generally won't take that sort of action."

Cherry-Evans also hopes minor infringements won't result in sin-bins and send-offs after 43 sin-bins and three send-offs in the three rounds that followed the crackdown's launch.

"If there's foul play any player will agree they're going to have to act on it, but as for those little accidental shots and the ones that brush past it'd be great to see it refereed as a penalty," he said.

"The product of Origin is amazing; 13 on 13, some of the best players going together, I don't want to have to come off talking about referees.

"I don't think that's fair to them; they've been under a lot of scrutiny this year, hopefully we can let the footy do the talking as players."

St George utility Ben Hunt will join the squad after Parramatta's Reed Mahoney, who was set to return to the squad as injury cover, was hurt on Sunday.

Dane Gagai was flanked by teammates when they arrived in Townsville on Monday in a sign he had overcome a bout of tonsillitis that meant he missed training on Friday and Sunday.

That health scare followed the withdrawal of Kalyn Ponga (groin) from the squad and injury concerns for AJ Brimson (knee), Cameron Munster (foot) and Harry Grant (hamstring), who are all expected to play.

"We have to give you guys (the media) something to do," Cherry-Evans joked of their predicament.

"But that's certainly not our intention; everyone wants the perfect camp but that's really hard to do.

"He (Gagai) was a little crook but we're all good and as for our preparation it has been really strong."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting