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Footy legends are being criticized as the horror flick that crushed Reece Walsh to pave the way to a huge Queensland win was NOT so bad


Queensland are within touching distance of a third successive State of Origin series win after Joseph Suaalii sent NSW to a 38-10 thrashing early on at Accor Stadium – and subsequently sparked plenty of controversy.

In a horror start to Michael Maguire’s tenure as NSW coach, Suaalii lasted just seven minutes on debut before being sent off for a late, high tackle on Reece Walsh.

The shot made him the fastest man sent off in Origin history and immediately ruled Walsh out for the rest of Game I as he was knocked out cold in horrifying scenes that saw his eyes roll back in his head and the fingers on his left hand. in a certain sign he suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Thankfully, the full-back appeared to have made a full recovery and was seen hugging his young daughter Leila during the match after finding her in the stands.

Suaalii shouldered Walsh’s jaw in the seventh minute – setting a State of Origin record and setting the stage for Queensland’s 38-10 romp

Walsh was left frozen after the tackle as Maroons assistant coach Nate Myles received an official warning from the NRL for shouting at Suaalii as he left the field.

Walsh was left frozen after the tackle as Maroons assistant coach Nate Myles received an official warning from the NRL for shouting at Suaalii as he left the field.

Walsh's young daughter Leila was in the crowd - and the full-back recovered enough to find and comfort her while the game was still going on (pictured)

Walsh’s young daughter Leila was also in the crowd – and the full-back recovered enough to find and comfort her while the game was still going on (pictured)

However, the drama of Suaali’s intervention did not end there.

Maroons assistant coach Nate Myles has been given an official warning by an NRL employee after he was caught on camera hitting the Roosters star with an intense verbal tirade as he left the field.

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Myles – who played for Queensland as a player – unloaded on Suaalia after jumping from his place on the substitutes’ bench.

Despite Suaali’s shoulder clearly crushing Walsh squarely on the jaw, two of the biggest names in the game thought the dismissal was unjustified.

Footy Immortal Andrew Johns said he was «really surprised» the center was marched off the field.

“Yes, it’s farewell at Clubland. But at this level I’m really surprised they sent Joseph Sua’ali’i away,» he said on Channel Nine.

It wasn’t much of a surprise from one of the biggest names in Blues history, but the sight from one-eyed Queensland fan and Maroons legend Paul Vautin was an absolute eye-opener.

Blues legend Andrew Johns said that while he thought the tackle was worth a club kick, the punishment was too harsh for Origin.

Blues legend Andrew Johns said that while he thought the tackle was worth a club kick, the punishment was too harsh for Origin.

Former Maroons star and coach Paul 'Fatty' Vautin (pictured) had an amazing take on the sending off, saying Suaalii didn't deserve it because what he did wasn't

Former Maroons star and coach Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin (pictured) had an amazing take on the sending off, saying Suaalii didn’t deserve it because what he did wasn’t «intentional»

«Suaalii thinks he’s going to hit him in the chest but Reece Walsh goes down – it’s reckless and careless but it’s not intentional,» he said.

“I don’t think it’s a send off. (Referee) Ashley Klein looked down and saw Reece snoring, so he immediately thought it was a mission.»

Footy fans blasted their attitude on social media, with one writing: «It doesn’t matter it’s Origin, it’s shot by a dog.»

“Anyone who thinks this is NOT a mission, time to crawl out from under your rock and jump into your time machine. Not the 1980s anymore. This action is career ending. At the wrong angle – it’s life-ending,» another commented.

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Martin Lang – who played eight games for Queensland between 1998 and 2000 – added: “I applaud the umpires. Direct contact with the head. If it’s an NRL sending off, it’s a State of Origin sending off.»

Queensland were able to bring super-sub Selwyn Cobb off their bench and into the center after Walsh was forced out, while NSW paid the price for having no backs on their bench.

Murray Taulagi (above) leads the celebrations after the Maroons trampled the Blues, who now need to win two games to reclaim the shield

Murray Taulagi (above) leads the celebrations after the Maroons trampled the Blues, who now need to win two games to reclaim the shield

With NSW playing one short on the right edge, Queensland ran in two first-half tries down that side, with Jaydn Su’A and Cobbo both driving rough.

The Blues eventually moved Stephen Crichton to right-centre to stop the Maroons’ threat before half-time, but the damage was already done.

Queensland led 20-6, giving NSW an insurmountable mountain to climb.

The path to the Blues’ first series win since 2021 looks just as tricky for Maguire’s men, with the last two games in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Only the 1994 NSW side came back to win a series after losing the first game at home and being asked to spend the rest of the series on the road.

NSW started the better of the teams in the opening minutes on Wednesday night and won the early territorial battle.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow came on at full-back after Walsh was dropped and scored a rare Origin hat-trick - and also saved a try with an incredible save.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow came on at full-back after Walsh was dropped and scored a rare Origin hat-trick – and also saved a try with an incredible save.

James Tedesco (left) and Liam Martin (right) spoke with their facial expressions after the loss, which was all but sealed once Suaalii dropped his shoulder.

James Tedesco (left) and Liam Martin (right) spoke with their facial expressions after the loss, which was all but sealed once Suaalii dropped his shoulder.

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But when Nicho Hynes killed the grubber kick dead, the Maroons went down field with Daly Cherry-Evans skipping from dummy-half to put Ben Hunt over.

When Suaalii marched, the game changed.

Su’A and Cobbo took the lead with one try to Hamis Tabuai-Fidow, while Cobbo chipped away at Zac Lomax to put the makeshift defender up for the second.

And while NSW got the game back to 20-10 early in the second half thanks to tries from James Tedesco and Lomax, Queensland managed to pull away again late on despite some brave defending from the Blues.

After holding a NSW attacking drive with 13 minutes to go, Queensland went the length of the field as Cobbo and Hunt broke the line on back-to-back plays.

Man of the match Cherry-Evans then put the game beyond doubt when he latched on to Isaac Yeo’s pass moments later and ran 60 meters before kicking a grubber with precision for Xavier Coates to score.

Tabuai-Fidow also scored a third try late on to seal the Maroons’ biggest win to date in Sydney.



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