Origin diving likely with sin-bins

·3-min read

Sin-bins threaten to play a large role in deciding the State of Origin series with Queensland coach Paul Green admitting it's likely players will attempt to milk penalties.

The NRL's foul-play crackdown has overshadowed the lead up to Wednesday's series opener in Townsville, with 46 players binned and another three sent off in the past month.

Not coincidentally, claims of diving have infiltrated the code at the same time, prompting both Origin sides to speak of a gentleman's agreement to keep it out of the showpiece series.

But Green warned on Tuesday that could prove just lip service and he wouldn't be surprised to see players stay down to seek an edge when the heat was on.

"I don't think anyone likes seeing that, but it's going to happen," Green said.

"There's a lot on the line, players play for an advantage.

"I'm not telling them to do that, the players I don't think want to do that, but in the heat of the battle (they might)."

The NRL has maintained its stance that the foul-play crackdown will not ease for Origin, amid pleas of leniency from Green and consistency from NSW counterpart Brad Fittler.

The Blues have made a point of training with and without numerical advantages in the past week, as they prepare for the likelihood of sin-bins and 10-minute periods that could decide the match.

In the four weeks since the crackdown began at Magic Round, teams have been down a man on their opposition for 468 minutes of football.

In that time, disadvantaged teams have conceded a whopping 254 points and scored just 86.

That difference threatens to be even bigger at Origin level, with the game's best players on the pitch.

"We go through many scenarios of what could happen in a game, and being down to 12 men is one of them as well," Blues hooker Damien Cook said.

"Sometimes teams can go away from their game plan very quickly because you are trying to chase that space that's not actually there.

"You have to stay on game plan and what you are trying to achieve.

"You try not to chase that space and you should come up somewhere with (them) being a player short."

Possession is also crucial in thiose periods, be it to accumulate pressure while up or starving the side with the extra man of the ball to attack with.

NSW players have been told to lower their tackle target zones in a bid to avoid being binned, while Green was adamant he didn't want a game impacted by the dramas.

"We'd hate to see an Origin decided on an innocuous, incidental contact to the head," said Green, who hoped to chat with referees boss Jared Maxwell before the match.

"It'd be very difficult to play Origin if teams get down to 12 or 11; that will go a long way to deciding the outcome.

"You've got to be extra cautious, if that's the right way to put it, or a little more careful where you put your arms with your tackle technique.

"But part of Origin is the collisions, the contact, the aggressive side of it, all legal I'm talking about. That's what makes Origin special."

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