Queensland captain Cameron Smith says NSW pivot Josh Reynolds’ niggling tactics may back-fire in the State of Origin opener in Brisbane.
The message to NSW pivot Josh Reynolds from Queensland captain Cameron Smith was simple: niggle us at your peril.
Smith expects plenty of on-field barbs from NSW especially from Reynolds – nicknamed “Grub” – after skipper Paul Gallen set the tone with his “two heads” jibe.
However, the Maroons leader warned Reynolds that his pestering may back-fire against a thick skinned Queensland in the State of Origin opener in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
Smith cited Gallen’s now infamous punches thrown at Nate Myles in 2013 Origin I as an example of how a humble Maroons handled negative tactics.
Gallen won the “fight” and NSW the series’ opening game last year but Queensland again regrouped before rumbling on to an unprecedented eighth straight title.
“When you don’t react it can have the reverse effect on those type of players,” Smith said of Reynolds, who will make his starting debut.
“I think that is what this team has done a fantastic job of for the last eight years.
“We play football. We don’t go out to bait certain players.
“If something happens we just get on with our roles – a perfect example is Nate Myles.
“There was a bit of a blow up there, it is well noted but he just got on with his job.”
Still, Smith said he’d been impressed by what he had seen from Bulldogs No.6 Reynolds to date, comparing him with his trump card Johnathan Thurston.
While spoilt with starting halves Thurston and Cooper Cronk and Daly Cherry-Evans off the bench, Smith was wary of the threat Reynolds and rookie No.7 Trent Hodkinson posed.
“We are lucky we have three of the best (halves). It could be the difference,” he said.
“But it’s up to us to minimise what they (NSW halves) do in the game, particularly Reynolds – he is quite an X-factor type player.
“He plays with a lot of energy. Wherever the ball is he will be.
“He is a lot like Johnathan Thurston.
“Hodkinson is a wonderful player as well. He really steadies the ship, has a strong kicking game, doesn’t get flustered.
“We need to apply pressure to them as a team.”
Smith – a 30 Origin game veteran who shares the record for most wins with 19 – did not try to play down the challenge facing Reynolds and his Dogs teammate Hodkinson.
“Origin is big jump (from NRL). It’s fast, more physical for the entire 80 minutes,” he said.
“It’s not ‘sort each other out for the first 20 then dies off a bit’.
“It’s flat out from the first to the last minute.
“Reynolds has been there before (two games off bench last year) but Hodkinson is coming into his first match so it’s an opportunity for us to test him out and see how he handles it.”