State of Origin game 2: Jarome Luai photo, Queensland reaction, NSW team
Disgruntled Maroons stars have spoken publicly about a prickly photo that is proving to be a sore spot heading into Game Two in Brisbane.
Queensland players have spoken publicly about the extent of their angst towards a provocative photo that emerged from Origin I in Townsville, revealing they will use it as motivation heading into Game Two on Sunday.
NSW romped to a 50-6 win in the series opener and debutant Jarome Luai was one of the Blues’ best. After the match an image emerged of the Panthers five-eighth standing over Felise Kaufusi and roaring, which reportedly led some Queenslanders to question if his confidence was tipping over to arrogance.
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Luai was reportedly sledging plenty of opponents during his first ever Origin match and Maroons skipper Daly Cherry-Evans said his teammates have spoken about the image, which didn’t set well with many in the Queensland camp.
“Yeah, yeah it has popped up a fair bit since game one,” Cherry-Evans told Channel 7.
“I dare say it is going to happen again. He (Luai) will probably be doing the same sort of stuff (sledging) on Sunday, but we will be better prepared for it.
“We are all aware of it (the photo), so we don’t need our noses rubbed in it.
“We are really aware of how bad it was on that night and when you win by 50 you probably have the right to stand over us, don’t you.
“We owe it to ourselves and to the rest of Queensland to go out there this Sunday and really turn it around.”
Forward Tino Fa’asuamaleaui said Queensland will be using the photo as added motivation to level the series.
“One hundred per cent it is motivation for Game Two and you never want to see a brother on the ground like that and someone standing over them,” Fa’asuamaleaui said.
“Next time it will be one of us there helping him up, so we just have to have each other’s back out there and we don’t want to see anything like that.”
NSW is preparing to seal the series with a win at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night, but Queensland will be desperate to atone for a first-up horror show and keep things alive heading into the final game in Sydney.
Luai might have a target on his back but it’s something he’s used to — and the confident playmaker isn’t about to apologise for his on-field passion.
“It might put a target on my head, but I was targeted the first game anyway, so it won’t affect me. Let’s go,” Luai told the Sydney Morning Herald of the photo on the weekend.
“I don’t really remember the actual moment, and I don’t even think it was because I had done something good. It was because of a Junior (Paulo) carry. He left a few boys on the ground and I was really hyped because of the mad carry off the kick-off.
“They were giving me a bit of lip, telling me I was soft. I backed up ‘Teddy’ (James Tedesco) and got shoved in the face by Joe Ofahengaue.
“I love that stuff. I’m used to it. I knew Origin was going to be a different beast and they would try to get into my head. It’s one of the toughest games throughout the year. I wanted my brothers to know I’ve got their backs.”