‘It’s glass houses’: Michael Maguire hits back at Qld over Reece Walsh tactics

Blues coach Michael Maguire has lit the fuse for a fiery game two in Melbourne after he hit back at suggestions his side deliberately went out to target Reece Walsh, calling it “glass houses” for Queenslanders to question his tactics.

Walsh was knocked out of the Origin opener inside eight minutes after he was hit high by Blues rookie Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii, who flew out of the line and whacked him high after he’d passed the ball.

Suaalii was sent off and Walsh was immediately ruled out of the contest having also been tackled in the air by Liam Martin after he put up a clearing kick.

Queensland coach Billy Slater didn’t want to give his view on the incident after the first game of the series, but Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston didn’t hold back when asked about it the following morning.

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“They clearly had a target on him and it didn’t turn out right. The officials had no other option, really,” he said, while Nate Myles gave Suaalii a spray as he left the field.

But Maguire wasn’t having any of it on Monday morning, hinting the Maroons may have gotten away with a few things in Sydney.

“You’ve got to make sure that you don’t live in glass houses, that’s all I’ll say,” he said.

“Things happen on the field. Joey is a special human being, and for him to have to deal with that (wasn’t on). He’ll be in and around the camp at some stage, but things happen on the field.

“It’s glass houses. Interesting.

“He’s my player, they’re my players. If you want to have a crack at our players, we’re about us and what we’re doing, and you’ve got to make sure that when you’re with your players that you look after them. That’s what I’m doing.”

The NSW coach refused to focus solely on Walsh as his side looks to keep the series alive, with the superstar fullback set to return after missing two club games as a result of the high shot.

“You’ve got to defend everyone,” he said.

“We’ve got to go out and defend what’s there, and it’s not about going after people. We’ve got to defend what’s in front of us.

“They’ve got players that we’ll do our homework on. We’ve got to get our style with how we want to play. We’ve got a couple of little subtleties with changes, so they’ve got to look at us.”

While Walsh has been cleared to play for the Maroons, the Blues have recalled strike weapon Latrell Mitchell as one of five changes to the squad in what will be his first game for NSW since 2021.

The Rabbitohs fullback had a slow start to the year but has been brilliant in recent weeks after he was overlooked for the series opener that sparked theories about his relationship with Maguire.

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Michael Maguire and Latrell Mitchell caught up over the weekend. Rabbitohs Credit: News Corp Australia

“I’ve known Latrell for a long time. I guess there are storylines, but I really enjoy his company,” he said.

“He’s in a really good place at the moment, and as a player, he’s one of those ones who wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s been through a little bit, but now he’s in a good place with where he’s at and that’s showing.

“He’s playing great footy and I think everyone can see that. You don’t need to dig into that. He’s got a smile on his face and he’s got a lot of spirit with what he’s doing, and that resonates through his footy.

“We all know he’s a talented world-class player, and he’s shown that, especially in the last month where he’s growing to what Latrell can do.”

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