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Merrin shot shows disrespect: Smith

Not content with claiming Trent Merrin's "cheap shot" on Brent Tate summed up NSW's disrespect for his all-conquering team, Queensland captain Cameron Smith compared it with Danny Williams' infamous 2004 king hit that earned a record 18-week ban.
Merrin shot shows disrespect: Smith
by AAP

By Laine Clark

ROCKHAMPTON, Qld July 9 AAP - Not content with claiming Trent Merrin's "cheap shot" on Brent Tate summed up NSW's disrespect for his all-conquering team, Queensland captain Cameron Smith compared it with Danny Williams' infamous 2004 king hit that earned a record 18-week ban.

Smith said a humble Queensland had built their State of Origin dominance on a respect for their opposition - a quality he did not see when Merrin punched Tate in the face as he looked down to receive the ball at dummy half in game two.

Merrin received one week for the blow - but Smith said it reminded him of ex-Melbourne teammate Williams' sickening NRL career-ending hit on Mark O'Neill nine years ago.

"The last person who threw a punch like that in a game when the bloke wasn't looking got 16 (sic) weeks," said Smith after an unchanged Queensland 17 was named for next week's Origin decider in Sydney.

"It was Danny Williams and I was involved in that game.

"Punching a bloke when he is looking at the ground, that's a cheap shot if you have ever seen one.

"I guess that would be one instance of (NSW) not showing respect for the opposition."

Smith hinted Queensland had been given plenty of ammunition to sledge their rivals but had instead humbly built their remarkable run of seven straight Origin series wins that goes on the line next week.

"The reason I believe we have been so successful is that we have always shown NSW respect," said Smith.

"It doesn't matter what the media or public are saying - and they (NSW) have copped a fair bit of stick over several years.

"But we have always shown those guys respect when we have gone out on the field.

"If you don't respect a team, you are going to get beaten."

Smith also seemed unimpressed with NSW's post-match reaction to the second half incident that prompted Merrin's game two punch.

Blues halfback Mitchell Pearce initially hinted at exacting revenge on Billy Slater after copping a stray elbow to the face from the Maroons trump card in a tackle.

Slater was cleared over the incident but Pearce later told reporters: "Hopefully I'll get him back."

Reports emerged that Slater told Pearce after the elbow incident "one-all (expletive)", indicating it was a get-square for an Origin I incident.

"There's been much made of that incident but as I said to the referee on the night, it was a stray elbow," Smith said.

"That happens every second tackle ... it just happened to hit him in the face.

"Billy obviously hasn't read too much into it.

"All of the noise is coming from down south."




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