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‘How do they disappear in the second half?’: Ricky Stuart questions Origin penalty count

There were eight penalties awarded in Game I of the 2019 State of Origin series. In Game II, 13 penalties were blown.

By halftime in last night’s deciding Game III, 12 penalties had been awarded, prompting fears that the game would become bogged down in an over officiated quagmire.

While it’s unclear whether the referees were instructed to put the whistle back in their pockets at halftime, the second half certainly felt like a different game of footy with only two penalties.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart can’t quite wrap his head around the stark difference between the two halves.

“If they see the penalties in the first half, how do they disappear in the second half?” Stuart tells David Morrow and Mathew Thompson on Macquarie Sports Radio.

“I mean, I don’t want the penalties either, I want an open and free game, but I don’t just want it in Origin, I want it in club football too.

“The game is no different. Origin is no different to an NRL game, I don’t see how it has to be interpreted differently. I know half one was no different to half two but I just don’t know where it disappears to.”

The former New South Wales coach believes the second half drop-off in penalties kept Queensland’s hopes of winning the match alive and says criticisms around refereeing shouldn’t necessarily be directed at the individuals blowing the whistle.

“I don’t look at the person in the middle who is making the decision, I look at the instructions he has been given,” he said.

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