Mal's rebuke: 'They didn't come up when it mattered'
NSW front-rower Andrew Fifita complained about being sledged during Origin II, and now we know where the Maroons inherited their sharp tongues from.
Rugby league legend Mal Meninga - former Queensland coach and now Australian mentor - has delivered a stinging truth sure to hit an entire state where it hurts.
If it wasn't bad enough losing the final two games to plummet to an 11th series defeat in 12 years, NSW's reputation has continued to take a hammering in the aftermath. Coach Laurie Daley reportedly backflipped on a decision to promote prop David Klemmer to the run-on side at the expense of Andrew Fifita, and Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson spent a day off drinking at a pub.
Plenty have had their say on the two NRL bad boys. Ex-NSW coach Ricky Stuart slammed the pair and said they should have been banished from the Origin arena years ago.
But Meninga says too much emphasis has been placed on the pair's beer-guzzling exploits at the expense of taking accountability for another dismal Origin campaign. Neither Dugan nor Ferguson broke any rules nor were there suggestions they were drunk, and Meninga says trying to make them scapegoats is another way for the Blues to avoid looking in the mirror to confront why they really lost once again.
"There's no credible evidence they (Dugan and Ferguson) misbehaved but that's just typical NSW, just trying to find something - the reason why NSW lost the series," Meninga said on Fox Sports' Queenslanders Only.
"As per always they (NSW) don't give credit where credit's due and the Queensland team was the much better team, certainly in game three to win the series.
"They (NSW) didn't come up when it mattered."
It's important to note Meninga isn't having a crack at specific NSW individuals - Boyd Cordner and Laurie Daley both praised Queensland for its performance, as did a host of other players - but again it's another stab at the culture of mediocrity that has become synonymous with the Blues over the past decade.
The Kangaroos coach clearly believes NSW is looking for excuses to explain why another series went down the drain.