Blues pack exposes undercooked Maroons
HE has the moustache of a silent-movies era villain and the provocative pre-game banter which put a very big target on his back.
Reagan Campbell-Gillard's first words as a NSW State of Origin player last week were that he couldn't wait to "start killing blokes" in maroon.
Maroons assistant coach Josh Hannay, a former Origin centre, said on game day that he wouldn't be surprised if some physical contests could "erupt''.
Channel 9 did a pre-game flashback piece to the 1995 MCG brawl which had a loving, boys-will-be-boys feel to that.
A good proportion of the rusted-on leaguies watching the telecast would have loved it, but from what Peter Beattie and Todd Greenberg have been telling us that's not the audience being sought by Origin football these days.
In this modern era, it was most likely to amount on the field to nothing more than pushing, shoving and verballing, but Campbell-Gillard had the satisfaction of finishing on the winning side.
State of Origin needs its villains and Campbell-Gillard's supporters in Sydney will see him being a 20-game Blue.
Ben Elias, Steve Roach and were three of the foremost villains and David Klemmer stuck his head above the parapet by sledging Corey Parker with F-rated abuse in a game in 2015.
Campbell-Gillard was in the slightly more effective pack of the two in NSW's 22-12 win, with Klemmer, skipper Boyd Cordner and Damien Cook especially effective.
Campbell-Gillard made 73m from his seven runs in his first stint, but was second banana behind Klemmer (104m) to that point.
But with Queensland summoning a big set when 10 points down, the Penrith prop made a jolting tackle on Maroon Gavin Cooper and then dumped Josh McGuire on his backside in the next tackle.
In their second Origin series, Queensland rivals Dylan Napa and Jarrod Wallace were chasing the game and combined for 42m between them at halftime.
Queensland missed an appalling tally of 41 tackles after an especially loose first half and missed only 11 in Game Three last year.
Klemmer traded barbs with Will Chambers on the way to the rooms at halftime after Chambers and opposite number Latrell Mitchell had words at the siren.