Ahead of the upcoming State of Origin series, an unexpected agreement might be made to withhold the toughness of the series.
Since the NRL's aggressive stance on officiating high tackles, the league has seen an increase in overacting an incident in the hopes of receiving a penalty.
While this zero-tolerance approach is important in protecting the players, many believe that is being exploited in order to milk for penalties.
Cherry-Evans thinks that it is unfair and unsafe to put the referees in a compromised position and need to decide whether an incident was genuine or not.
He instead believes that the players are responsible to conduct themselves properly, which is where the gentleman's agreement comes in.
“It’s going to be a bit of a gentleman’s agreement, to be honest. As players, we all know what Origin is about, we know what it means to each other, the fans, the game. We are playing a heavy contact sport. When we go out there, I don’t think there will be too much of that play going on,” Cherry-Evans said.
“That’s sportsmanship at the end of the day.
"But I think Origin is a different beast. We’ll see a lot of free-flowing footy and not too many people staying down."
The NRL have since issued a warning to both clubs that there will be zero tolerance on high hits, per The Courier Mail's Pete Badel.
Breaking: NRL issues warning to NSW and Queensland players saying there will be zero tolerance on high shots in Origin I.
Referee Gerard Sutton instructed to sin bin players for acts of foul play.
There will be no leniency. @travismeyn
— Pete Badel (@badel_cmail) June 7, 2021
Cherry-Evans remains confident that all players will do the right thing by the sport and wants the series to be as exciting and tough as it normally is.
“The product of Origin is amazing: 13 on 13, I don’t want to have to be talking about referees. That’s not fair to them. We want the product to be spoken about and the players that have played well, not what has been going on in the game.," he added.
It is not just the Maroons who are hopeful for a fair and controversy-free series.
While he understands there is a competitive advantage from using the tactic, Tedesco personally refuses to implement the practice.
Fellow Blue's teammate Tariq Sims also wants the Origin series to be free of any penalty shenanigans.
When asked by NRL.com whether any unsportsmanlike behaviour like that would enter the Origin series, Sims was direct with his response.
"You’d like to think not. She's a slippery old slope that one," Sims said.
"You'd like to think that no one would milk a penalty."
Both the Maroons and Blues captains have now publicly come out against milking for free kicks. This would lead fans to believe that this practice shouldn't be present in an exciting and competitive State of Origin Series.
Due to the current outbreak in Victoria, Townsville has been granted a special exemption to host the game.
This means that the Maroons get a home crowd for the initial two matches.
NSW believes that this means that the pressure is all on their opposition. Captain Cherry-Evans disagrees and is excited about the opportunity to play in front of large home crowds.
“I can’t speak on behalf of everyone but I don’t see it as pressure. It’s a great opportunity to go up there and have a crowd that is going to get behind us 100 per cent," he said.
“It’s not something that scares me... that’s great. As athletes, we don’t look at it like that, we see it as an opportunity to go up there and do something really special.”
The Blues however are undeterred and excited by the prospect.
"I'm feeling really good. Calm, collected, very comfortable. The way that Freddie [Brad Fittler] and his coaching staff have designed this camp, it's really nice." Sims said.
Despite only winning three of the last 15 series, the Blues have won two of the last three.
They hope to jump out to a game one victory over the reigning champs this Wednesday.
Match one kicks off on June the 9th at 8.10 pm AEST.