James Tamou believes NSW got under Johnathan Thurston’s skin in State of Origin game two to win the series but dismissed claims the Blues have resorted to using cheap shots against Queensland.
Laurie Daley’s side were accused on being ‘grubs’ by the Queensland media on Saturday, claiming they used strong-arm, off-the-ball tactics to beat the Maroons.
But Tamou said his side were only standing up for themselves and accused his North Queensland teammate Thurston of losing control and lighting the blue touch paper for a spiteful encounter at ANZ Stadium when he slapped Beau Scott across the face.
“I think the whole public saw the way they were acting,” Tamou said.
“They were trying to go to that boiling point to make us look like the bad guys.
“Thurston, for example, his normal characteristic in club footy, he is never normally like that. It’s what Origin brings.”
Thurston and Reynolds almost came to blows late in the game after Trent Hodkinson had scored and converted his own try to seal a famous 6-4 victory and Tamou said the Maroons started to lose control when they knew the series was lost.
“At the end of game two … Josh Reynolds was really getting under his skin,” the prop said.
“It was good to see Josh sort of give it to him in that sense. Giving it to each other. But I’ve never seen him like that in the Cowboys jumper.
“Most of that came from the scoreboard.
“They are definitely that type of team that if they were losing the game, they would try and get under your skin to the point of making us to try and throw a punch.”
Reynolds, who is known universally in the game as ‘Grub’ said his nickname isn’t from any of his on-field antics, and was bestowed upon him by Bulldogs assistant coach Jim Dymock.
“He got it from that movie the Final Winter where there is a character in it called ‘Grub’ and he reckons I act and play like him,” Reynolds said.
The Bulldogs five-eighth said he and Thurston have no issues after the Test star sought him out after the game to apologise and Reynolds said playing against the reigning Golden Boot winner in Origin was a highlight of his career.
“I loved it,” he said.
“To go up against him was a big thing, it probably isn’t for him, he probably couldn’t care less about me.
“But he is the best five-eighth and you want to play against the best.
“He is a competitor like me and what happened during the game was just two competitive people going at it.
“If he was walking down the street today, I would say hello to him.
“It’s nothing off my skin, and if you asked him he’d probably say the same, particularly after what he said to me after the game.
“Even if he hadn’t (apologised) it wouldn’t have bothered me I leave it out on the field … it’s just footy.”