BRISBANE - NSW great Ben Elias has baulked at calling Queensland coach Mal Meninga a sore loser but admits his pre-State of Origin media no-show is not a good look.
The Maroons raised eyebrows when they cancelled their usual media opportunity on Monday, with Meninga apparently putting his business commitments ahead of publicising tonight's third game.
It was left to NSW mentor Laurie Daley on Monday to urge Queensland fans to show their support for the Maroons as they seek to avoid their first series clean sweep in 14 years, with about 6000 tickets still unsold for the Suncorp Stadium clash.
"As a coach you have a responsibility to represent your state through good and bad," ex-Blues skipper Elias, a veteran of 19 Origins, told AAP.
"He is like the premier of that state he is so highly regarded, he has an obligation.
"I don't think he is a sore loser. I have a high regard for Mal."
Queensland chief selector Des Morris defended Meninga, saying any suggestion of sour grapes from critics would be "pretty harsh".
"Knowing what Mal has put into this I think that (criticising his no-show) is pretty harsh, it's a bit left field," he told AAP.
Monday is traditionally Queensland's day off, but both the NSW and Maroons captains usually speak with the media while the two coaches hold press conferences on match eve.
However, at the request of the NRL the arrangement has been changed with Blues skipper Paul Gallen and Queensland captain Cameron Smith asked to talk to the media.
Daley switched to do his media conference on Monday but it seems Meninga, who deals with his business on Mondays, won't be speaking again before the match.