Forget state against state or mate against mate.
Queensland captain Cameron Smith says it will be hate against hate in the State of Origin opener against NSW in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
Smith revealed on Monday he was good friends with Paul Gallen and thought the Blues captain’s “two heads” comment about Queenslanders was funny.
But the Maroons leader said the “hate” for the Blues team was stronger than ever as Queensland prepared to launch their quest for a ninth straight Origin series win.
At first, Smith almost tried to defend Gallen over his comment that offended Maroons great Wally Lewis.
“That is Gal being Gal,” Smith said.
“That was a loose comment. I don’t think he meant too much by it.
“He is actually quite a good mate of mine, to be honest.
“But that mateship will be gone on Wednesday night, he will be the enemy.”
Smith said Queensland did not have to resort to name calling to fire up their all-conquering side.
But when asked about the feeling between the sides, Smith said: “It’s no secret Queensland hates NSW and NSW hates Queensland.
“I can guarantee you the hate for NSW hasn’t gone out the window.
“State of Origin and the feeling around the game, I have never seen it so great.
“The hate will be there on Wednesday night.
“I am pretty sure you will see it when Paul Gallen runs out.”
Gallen will again be public enemy No.1 when he emerges at Suncorp Stadium.
Especially after angering Lewis who believed Gallen’s jibe “was an indication of a long-held disrespect for Queensland”.
But Gallen said on Monday: “My comments weren’t aimed at insulting Queensland, they were a light-hearted jibe and I was just explaining how hostile and tough it is up here.
“I was giving them a rap.”
Asked if it would backfire on Wednesday night, Gallen said: “It was a joke, why would it backfire?”
It may have stoked the fire in Lewis’ belly but Gallen’s barb barely registered in the Queensland camp.
“I did not know about it until a couple of days ago,” said 30 Origin-game veteran Smith.
Asked why Queensland did not weigh into a war of words, Smith said: “We don’t need to.
“We are quite comfortable with the way we prepare.
“Whether Gal is trying to fire us up or stir us up or upset us I am not too sure.
“But I had a bit of a laugh. It’s quite funny I reckon.”
Smith said their humble approach had been rammed home by coach Mal Meninga since he took over the reins and inspired a dynasty in 2006.
“That’s something Mal brought to the group, to be humble, always enjoy success but never get carried away with what you have done and always show respect to the opposition,” he said.
“We know we are playing a great side. We don’t need to call people names.
“For 80 minutes we are enemies then after that it is done and dusted.”