“I hope the referees aren’t conditioned by the false accusations,” Hatcher said. “It wasn’t mentioned after the game and it’s come up in camp [before game two]. We worry about ourselves. [NSW] can do whatever they like.”
Queensland have this year employed specialist wrestling coach John Donehue, who previously worked with NSW during the Craig Bellamy era from 2008-10. NSW don’t employ someone in a similar role and have been reluctant to talk about the issue for fear of being branded as whingers.
But a day after the NRL competition committee recommended serious crusher tackles be referred straight to the judiciary, Hatcher echoed the sentiment in stamping out the ugly practice of placing pressure on the head or neck of an opponent.
“That’s got no place in the game,” he said. “You don’t want to see anyone end up a paraplegic or quadriplegic because of a stupid tackle.
“The tactic of slowing down the play-the-ball by whatever means is a blight on the game. I think it detracts from the spectacle of the game. As long as grass grows on the field people will be looking for an advantage. It’s up to the match officials to police it.”
Gerard Sutton and Ashley Klein will once again be the men in the middle for the second Origin clash, which will be a sellout at the 60,000-seat $1.6 billion stadium.