Big Tino won't temper Origin aggression

·2-min read

He won't be targeting State of Origin rival Payne Haas but Queensland forward Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is confident rugby league's crackdown on high contact won't temper his aggression.

Fa'asuamaleaui sparked one of the defining moments of last year's Origin series when he and NSW prop Haas traded punches in game two, a stoush many former Queensland greats have since lauded as series-changing for an inexperienced Maroons line-up.

Rugby league immortal Andrew Johns fears the draconian crackdown on high contact imposed by the NRL before this year's Magic Round threatens to eliminate personal duels such as that between the two young forwards.

"The one-on-one battles, the grudges between two forwards, the rivalry between the likes of Paul Harragon and Mark Carroll everyone still talks about, are about to become a thing of the past," Johns wrote in a column for the Sydney Morning Herald.

But Fa'asuamaleaui says strict refereeing doesn't mean there has to be a lowering of aggression levels in Origin matches.

"No, not at all. I think you've just got to be smart with it you know?," the Gold Coast enforcer said.

"Can't be going out there being aggressive and throwing head highs and that.

"You can't be doing that so you just got to have controlled aggression."

The 21-year-old also has a warning for any Blues' players who feel they need payback on Maroons forward Jai Arrow.

NSW captain James Tedesco was ragdolled while concussed by Arrow in last year's decider, with the apologetic Queenslander adamant he was unaware of Tedesco's condition.

Nonetheless several Sydney Roosters went after Arrow in an NRL match against South Sydney in March, a situation if repeated next Wednesday in Townsville that will force Fa'asuamaleaui to react.

"A hundred per cent. That's our teammate and we've got each other's back," he said.

"I've got his back and anyone out there I've got their back, anyone in a Maroons jersey."