Michael Maguire.
Blues coach Michael Maguire is not happy with some of the noise coming out of the Queensland camp. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

‘Glass houses’: Madge bristles over Qld’s Walsh claims

George Clarke June 17, 2024

NSW coach Michael Maguire has fired the first shot ahead of State of Origin II, accusing Queensland of living “in glass houses” after complaints over the Blues’ treatment of Reece Walsh.

Speaking for the first time since recalling Mitchell Moses at halfback and Latrell Mitchell at centre for game two in Melbourne next Wednesday, Maguire pulled no punches in defending his NSW side.

Walsh was knocked out in a tackle by Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii just seven minutes into the series opener, with Suaalii sent off and subsequently suspended for four matches.  

After Queensland won 38-10, Maroons greats Johnathan Thurston and Gorden Tallis, along with Walsh’s club coach at Brisbane Kevin Walters, accused NSW of unfairly targeting Walsh.

Reece Walsh.
 Reece Walsh was left banged up after Origin I in Sydney. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

Livewire Broncos fullback Walsh has been cleared to play at the MCG.

And while Queensland coach Billy Slater would not discuss the Blues’ tactics to muzzle his star No.1, Maguire was out on the front foot by defending the character of his Blues side. 

The usually reserved NSW coach hinted the Maroons were no angels themselves.

“You’ve got to make sure that you don’t live in glass houses, that’s all I’ll say,” Maguire said.

“Things happen on the field. Joey (Suaalii) is a special human being, and for him to have to deal with that (wasn’t on).

“He’ll be in and around the camp at some stage, but things happen on the field.

“It’s glass houses … interesting.

“If you want to have a crack at our players, we’re about us and what we’re doing, and you’ve got to make sure that when you’re with your players that you look after them. That’s what I’m doing.”

Maguire’s fiery response set the scene for an intriguing game two as the Blues head to Melbourne knowing they need a win to retain hope of clinching the series. 

Maguire has made five changes to his side, with Cameron Murray starting at lock and Dylan Edwards taking over at fullback.

Utility Connor Watson has been named for his debut off the bench, with Maguire likening his versatility to that of Craig Wing. 

Moses ousts Nicho Hynes for the No.7 jersey after the Cronulla playmaker struggled to stamp his authority on game one.

Parramatta playmaker Moses would have likely been the Blues’ first-choice halfback were it not for him missing nearly three months with a foot injury. 

Mitch Moses.
 Mitch Moses’s form since his Eels return has thrust him back into the Blues’ No.7 jersey. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

“I’ve been talking to Mitch (for several months) and I’ve always thought Mitch is a good player,” Maguire said. 

“You’ve got to make a decision and you’re looking at kicking, the style of play, and Mitch has been there and done it before.

“Those things all come together with picking the squad the way I have.”

Maguire was also stoic in his defence of captain Jake Trbojevic after the forward was restricted to just 29 minutes in the series opener.

Blues great Mark Geyer called for Trbojevic to be dropped after Queensland claimed game one. 

 Blues skipper Jake Trbojevic played just 29 minutes in game one. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

“He’s got the passion, he’s got the ability, he’s been there, he’s experienced,” Maguire said.

“I saw him around the players throughout the camp and how he galvanised (them).

“He’s a player that everyone loves to play for, until you actually live it and see it … he’s really impressive, Jake.

“He has a real strength in bringing people together.”