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Walters unimpressed by NSW wrestling call

NZN 20/06/2017 Laine Clark

State against state, mate against mate.

State of Origin again looks set to test another friendship after Queensland coach Kevin Walters finally cracked, taking aim at his mate Laurie Daley over claims the Maroons will turn Wednesday night's crunch game two into "wrestlemania".

Under the pump since Queensland's record 28-4 game one loss in Brisbane, Walters dropped his affable approach on Tuesday and fired up over NSW coach Daley claiming the Maroons would test the referees' patience by slowing the play-the-ball at ANZ Stadium.

Walters is feeling the heat after a tough build-up in which the Queensland Rugby League was forced to deny reports Wayne Bennett was waiting in the wings as Maroons coach if they lost the 2017 series.

Confirmation that playmaker Johnathan Thurston had been passed fit to make his Origin return did not appease Walters who couldn't resist having a shot at ex-Canberra teammate Daley.

"I am a bit disappointed with Laurie and the NSW players with all that - I don't think it is in the right spirit of the game to try and use the referees to influence the game," he said.

"I just don't see why NSW and Laurie want to put the pressure on the referees when they shouldn't be doing that.

"It is up to the referees to police the game.

"We will play the football the referees allow us to play."

Asked if NSW could expect wrestlemania in game two, Walters said: "I haven't seen Hulk Hogan around."

Walters' comments are sure to infuriate Daley with NSW preparing for Queensland to adopt NRL club Melbourne's proficiency at wrestling in the tackle.

The Maroons' selection of Storm bolter Tim Glasby - one of four Queensland debutants for game two - only added to NSW's suspicions.

Pressure is building on Walters after Queensland wielded the axe following their record game one loss, making seven changes and naming four rookies - the biggest team shake-up in 15 years.

Walters on Tuesday reminded fans the once mighty Maroons - winners of 10 of the last 11 series - were in a transition phase ahead of game two.

Asked if the transition line was a "get out of jail free" card to ensure his future, Walters said: "No. Look, I'm not going to answer that question.

"We want to win, that's what it's about.

"Transition is good but we're about trying to win."

Walters has at least been buoyed by the return of Thurston despite suffering a knee injury and concussion at Queensland's Gold Coast camp.

"He's going to have it (knee) strapped but he's a bit of a warrior, old Johnny," Walters said of Thurston, who missed game one with a shoulder injury.

In his final Origin series, Thurston returns to the Queensland side along with fullback Billy Slater who was controversially overlooked for the series opener.

Walters was confident his young forward pack would rise to the occasion against the Blues.

He confirmed rookie Jarrod Wallace would start in the front row alongside one-Origin game forward Dylan Napa with debutant forwards Glasby and Coen Hess on the bench.P

"It's a big challenge for them. But all they can do is get ready as best they can and get ready for the onslaught," Walters said.

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