Sam Thaiday has labelled criticism of Brent Tate silly, saying no one has more right to express their concern over a lifting tackle than the veteran outside back.
Tate said he’d never been more frightened than when he was flipped through the air by NSW pair Josh Reynolds and Beau Scott in the second half of NSW’s State of Origin game-one win in Brisbane last week.
The Queensland winger, who has battled serious neck injuries throughout his career, claimed he’d been left shaking for 10 minutes after the tackle and said the NRL needed to eradicate lifting tackles to avoid another tragic spinal injury such as that suffered by Newcastle’s Alex McKinnon earlier this season.
His comments drew angry responses from NSW players with Greg Bird claiming what had been said was “out of line” while prop Aaron Woods warned Tate about a hostile reception from Blues players in game two in Sydney on June 18.
Thaiday said the anger from the NSW camp was uncalled for and Tate had valid concerns.
“He’s got every right to have his say because he was the player that was put in that position,” Thaiday said.
“Well done and good on him for speaking up. He is a player that has suffered from neck injuries in the past. As has been shown this year, one tackle can really change someone’s career; change someone’s life.”
Thaiday, who missed Origin I due to a calf injury, made his return to action in last Sunday’s NRL win by Brisbane over Manly.
The hard-running forward is widely expected to earn an instant recall to the Maroons for game two as Queensland try to keep their eight-series winning streak alive.
Queensland’s lack of prop power in the opening match might force Thaiday into the front-row for game two and that’s something the Australian Test representative says he’s more than willing to do.
“If I have to play front-row, that’s fine,” he said.
“I just want to be back on the field playing footy and I’d love to be back in Origin as well.”