Maguire puts Tallis in glass house over Origin blasts

Scott Bailey |

Michael Maguire has reignited the glass-houses feud, accusing Maroons legend Gorden Tallis of living in one after his criticism of NSW’s aggression in State of Origin II.

Hours after naming his team for next Wednesday’s decider at Suncorp Stadium, Maguire leapt to the defence of his players for the second time in two camps on Monday.

The Blues coach said NSW’s supposed bullying tactics in Origin II were merely a style of rugby league that had to be played, and vowed his side would not back down in the series decider in Brisbane next week.

Tallis was among those to take exception to some acts of NSW aggression following the Blues’ 38-18 win in Melbourne.

The former Maroons captain took umbrage with Latrell Mitchell pushing Reece Walsh in the in-goal when the ball was dead, along with the centre’s facial work on Valentine Holmes.

Stephen Crichton’s grapple tackle on Daly Cherry-Evans and Reece Robson’s hair pull on Jaydn Su’A are among other issues in the spotlight.

A TV pundit these days, Tallis has also had other cracks at Maguire through the series, attacking the NSW coach’s playing history and decision to bring James Tedesco into camp for Game I.

Maguire was on Monday emphatic in his response to Tallis’ criticism.

“Gordy might be sitting inside that glass house,” Maguire said.

It was the second time Maguire has made references to people in glass houses this series, also frustrated at claims from the Maroons that the Blues illegally targeted Reece Walsh in Origin I.

NSW coach Michael Maguire defended his players once again. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

Tallis was at the centre of several Origin controversies in his career, including rag-dolling Brett Hodgson, striking Adam MacDougall after scoring a try and being sent off for referee abuse.

Maguire indicated he was somewhat surprised by Queensland taking offence to the Blues’ aggression, suggesting it has long been a hallmark of the Maroons.

“That’s where the glass house comes into play,” Maguire said.

“If you’re talking to that, you look in Game I where certain things were said off the field. Where you (the media) want to take that, that’s up to you.

“But we’re very focused about what happens on the field. It was nice to see we had a dominant performance, but it won’t mean anything if we don’t do it again.

“We’ve given ourselves an opportunity to put ourselves in a series. That game is done now. Game III is ahead. And whatever is thrown at us we need to deal with.”

Stephen Crichton (c) is among Blues players who have come under scrutiny. (Scott Barbour/AAP PHOTOS)

Regardless, Maguire said NSW would not change their approach for the decider.

“I don’t know if you would call (how we played in Melbourne) bullying,” Maguire said.

“We just played the style rugby league needs to be played. The first half we were very thorough, the second half we need to improve.”

Called in to replace the injured Latrell Mitchell, Bradman Best sent an injury scare through NSW camp by reporting hamstring tightness that required scans on Monday.

But the Blues are confident the barnstorming left centre will recover in time to take the field next Wednesday, installing Matt Burton as 18th man to cover for Best just in case.

Manly’s Haumole Olakau’atu, dropped in favour of Mitch Barnett, and Sydney Roosters veteran Luke Keary round out the extended squad.