Maroons ready to fight fire with fire
IT SEEMS everyone is talking about New South Wales firebrand David Klemmer.
Master coach Wayne Bennett has added his voice to the conversation, comparing the 200cm, 120kg giant to Penrith's former rampaging forward Mark Geyer.
The comparison looks realistic considering the way the young Bulldogs forward fearlessly rips into his rivals with no concern for his own safety.
Geyer, renowned for his over-the-top aggression, was told to "run amok" in game two of the 1991 Origin series against Queensland. He took the advice literally, copping a six-week suspension after carrying out a one-man demolition job on the Maroons, the match featuring the infamous half-time clash with Wally Lewis.
Klemmer got tongues wagging after coming off the bench in Origin II at the MCG last month and terrorising Queensland's experienced forward pack with his aggressive running and niggling tactics. Not everyone was impressed, though. Maroons veteran Corey Parker labelled Klemmer's trash talk "disrespectful".
NSW coach Laurie Daly will no doubt "unleash the beast" again in Wednesday night's series decider at Suncorp Stadium, but this time Queensland has vowed to meet fire with fire.
Parker was just one of the Queensland forwards who copped a verbal spray from Klemmer as he tore through the middle of the Maroons ruck in a performance that had former NSW players, including Balmain legend Steve Roach, hailing him a long-time Origin fixture.
Queensland coach Mal Meninga has recalled Canberra hit specialist Josh Papalii for the series decider to take some steam and sting out of Klemmer, an open target for Papalii's rib-crunching tackles with his upright, direct running style. No-nonsense prop Jacob Lillyman is another who will be gunning for Klemmer.
"He made a statement," Lillyman said, admitting the NSW forwards got the better of Queensland in Melbourne.
The Warriors forward did add that he thought the media had overplayed Klemmer's antics at the MCG.
"I think it's been a bit of a (media) beat up," Lillyman said.
"Whether you are 18 or 33, once you cross that white line, everyone is equal.
"What he did was bring a bit of fire and energy to their team.
"He came out with all guns blazing, so it makes for a massive game three," Lillyman added.
"I'm sure that's what everyone wants to see with everything on the line for the decider, so we will see how we go."
Lillyman said Origin had become "too frantic" and "too physical" to see a good old-fashioned stink, despite the ill-feeling that exists between the two teams.
But he also said the likely addition of chief agitator Michael Ennis to the Blues line-up would ensure the crowd got their money's worth.
"Look, there's so much passion from both sides out there that anything is possible," Lillyman said.