NSW coach rages over 'disrespectful' act after State of Origin loss

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Nathan Cleary and Brad Fittler look on after NSW's loss in the State of Origin decider. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Nathan Cleary and Brad Fittler look on after NSW's loss in the State of Origin decider. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Assistant coach Greg Alexander has lashed out over 'disrespectful' suggestions that NSW lost the State of Origin series because they don't have the same level of passion as Queensland.

NSW coughed up a 12-10 lead in Game III on Wednesday night as Queensland prevailed 22-12 for their ninth win in the last 10 Origin deciders.

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Questions around the Blues' passion for Origin resurfaced in the aftermath, with NRL 360 co-hosts Paul Kent and Phil Rothfield suggesting the NSW players didn't want it as badly as the Maroons.

But Alexander, who has been an assistant to NSW coach Brad Fittler for the past five series, rubbished those suggestions on Friday.

“Anyone who says Queensland cares more about the jersey is talking absolute garbage,” the Penrith Panthers legend said on SEN radio.

“It’s disrespectful to even say it. The comment makes me so angry as they have no idea what goes on inside camp.”

Alexander lifted the lid on what it was like in the NSW dressing rooms after Game III.

"It was tough," he said. "Origin is like nothing else. It’s almost a different game to club footy. The disappointment is greater when you do lose.

"It was a very flat dressing room. Nothing was said. It was deathly quiet in there for at least half an hour. There’s nothing to say.”

Speaking on Thursday during a panel discussion with former NSW players Michael Ennis and Braith Anasta, Kent said: “You can sit here and crap on about all that other stuff, but the fact is every time Origin comes up every year and someone like myself or Buzz (Rothfield) bring up the fact about Queensland passion.

“You blokes as ex-players - and I say this respectfully - get your backs up about NSW being as passionate about our jerseys as what they are. No way in the world.

“We have got a bloke (Tom Dearden) who gets knocked on his door by Billy Slater who says, mate you are playing five-eighth because Munster is out. He tears up and he says, ‘I won’t let Queensland down’.

“The other No. 6 in the other jersey (Jerome Luai) can’t wait to play for Samoa, so don’t tell me the passion is equal.”

Greg Alexander, pictured here during a NSW training session at Suncorp Stadium.
Greg Alexander looks on during a NSW training session at Suncorp Stadium. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Are Queenslanders more passionate about State of Origin?

Rothfield said Maroons players play for the Queensland jersey, but NSW players are more about the status of playing Origin footy.

“I look at Queensland players like they want to play for the Maroons jersey," he said.

“And I look at NSW players that they want to play Origin and not necessarily that light blue jersey.

“It is very easy to sit behind a keyboard and say that, but it is the impression that I get.

“The only factual information that justifies a comment like that is three years ago [Queensland] won an impossible series.

“And I think this year even without Latrell (Mitchell) and (Tom) Trbojevic, NSW on paper were the better football side.”

NSW players, pictured here during State of Origin III at Suncorp Stadium.
NSW players look on during State of Origin III at Suncorp Stadium. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

But Ennis, who represented NSW in eight Origin matches, disagreed.

“It is easy to sit there and say that after Queensland get the result and play the way they did, but you can’t tell us how we feel pulling on a jersey,” he said.

NSW halfback Nathan Cleary copped it from fans after a post-match interview in which he said the loss 'sucked'.

"They just don't get it. No Queenslander would be caught dead saying that after a series loss," one fan commented.

Another said: "I thought the same, DCE was nearly in tears after managing to pull the win out, he would've been inconsolable if they had lost.

"Clearly seemed slightly upset but definitely none of the passion that the maroon boys were showing."

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