AAP - Tracey Nearmy

For fans’ sake, keep both teams apart: Meninga

QUEENSLAND coach Mal Meninga again has urged referees Ben Cummins and Gerard Sutton to help give Origin's expected biggest-ever crowd a great spectacle by keeping the sides apart in front of an estimated 90,000 fans at the MCG tomorrow night.

With the prospect of a wet and slippery surface, Meninga says it's important Melbourne fans get value for money and the clash does not degenerate into a slugfest.

Queensland leads the series 1-0 after taking a tense opening game 11-10 in Sydney last month.

But it will be without star halfback and game-breaker Cooper Cronk who slotted the match-winning field goal in game one, while the Blues have been boosted by the return of their spiritual leader Paul Gallen from injury.

Try-scoring winger Brett Morris also is back from a hamstring complaint which will give the backline more firepower than it had in a low-scoring game in Sydney.

"We're ready to rumble," declared Meninga. "We need it to be a spectacular event.

"We want a great game and the best way to do that is to keep the teams apart."

NSW coach Laurie Daley, who also attended the media conference with Meninga at the MCG, was totally supportive of the need to keep a good 10m between the two sides, despite his focus on defence since taking the helm.

The Blues have pointed the finger at Queensland during their build-up to game two, which they have to win to force the series into a Suncorp Stadium decider on July 7, claiming the Maroons employed "grubby" tactics in the Sydney opener.

Meninga delivered his answer directly on the eve of the clash, saying Queensland would do "whatever is needed" to win the game and clinch the series.

"We want to be successful," he said.

Queensland rugby league boss Peter Betros last week bagged NSW for spending the 10 days in the lead-up to the game in sunny Coffs Harbour, while the Queenslanders based themselves in Melbourne and promoted the game.

Daley delivered a belated response at the end of the press conference, claiming Queensland had received money from the Victorian Government to prepare for the match in Melbourne.

"Did we?" Meninga said.

"I think so," Daley responded, adding: "I think if we had got a bit of money from the government we would have come down for the week as well."



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