The pre-match build-up to State of Origin III took a laughable turn on Friday morning as Liam Martin’s mum Maxine took to the airwaves to defend her son against claims he’s a dirty player.
Tea Courier Mail this week published a series of photos highlighting incidents from the Blues’ 16-10 loss in Origin I, accusing Martin of being a “grub”.
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The storyline has continued to dominate the headlines in the lead-up to Sunday night’s clash in Perth, with the NSW back-rower taking it all in his stride and the Blues even suggesting they should follow his example after team advisor Greg Alexander said they were “too nice” in the series opener in Sydney.
Speaking in a lighthearted segment on 2Day FM’s Hughesy, Ed and ErinMaxine rushed to her son’s defence.
“When it’s happened it’s like the mumma bear has come out in me,” Maxine said.
“I said, when you watch a game there’s more face massages out there than a beauty salon. They’re roughing each other up all the time.
“I rang my children straight away when I read it, and they banned me. I’m banned from reading the internet, banned from social media. I’m banned! Can you ban parents?
“It’s so out of left-field.
“It’s not a pretty label — public enemy No. 1 … or the grub — it’s not a pretty label and I’m thinking, ‘Woah, what’s going on here?’
“When it first came out I had a sleepless night over it.”
Ed Kavalee, a co-host of the radio program alongside Erin Molan and Dave Hughes, then took great delight as a Queensland supporter taking the mickey out of the situation, agreeing Maxine should wear a T-shirt with “grub raiser” written on it .
“I’m happy to do this as a Queensland supporter. Maxine, your son is a grub,” Kavalee said, tongue planted firmly in cheek. “Your son is a massive grub.
“But he is exactly what the Blues need because the rest of them were too nice.
“Let his elbows lead the way. ‘Follow me behind my knees and elbows, guys, straight into the faces and throats of the Queenslanders’.”
Kavalee later made sure everyone knew he was obviously kidding, adding: “Maxine, he’s a beauty, it’s all just Origin nonsense, they do it every year.
“Queensland just pick someone and go, ‘Right, this is the block we’re after’.”
Martin laughed off the “grub” accusations earlier this week and suggested NSW coach Brad Fittler wanted him to show even more mongrel in Perth on Sunday night.
“It sort of came out of the blue,” Martin told nswrl.com.au. “I didn’t mind. I think Mom was more rattled than me. She was like, ‘You’re not a grub’ and I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know’.
“Even ‘Freddy’ (Fittler) said he loved it and just to bring it again.
“He said, ‘Why did it take 65 minutes to start doing it?’ We might have to start doing it from the first minute.
“I find both teams play with that passion and I grew up watching Paul Gallen and Nate Myles go at it so I tried to emulate that and I’ll probably bring it again.
“It’s footy after all, it’s played with aggression and things are going to happen. If you’re not doing that stuff, you’re probably not giving it your all.”