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Watch the moment Billy Slater loses his cool over Joseph Sua’ali’i’s shock hit as Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston makes a stunning charge at the Blues.


James Cooney for Daily Mail Australia and Joel Gould for the Australian Associated Press

Queensland coach Billy Slater could barely contain his anger over questions about Joseph Sua’ali’i’s high tackle that left Reece Walsh concussed and out of the game.

Sua’ali’i faces four weeks on the sidelines with an early guilty plea after headbutting Walsh in the eighth minute of the Maroons’ 38-10 win in the State of Origin series opener in Sydney on Wednesday.

Slater refused to comment on the matter at his post-match press conference and bristled at questions from the media.

«I’ll keep my feelings to myself,» Slater said coolly before being asked if he thought NSW were targeting Walsh.

«I have no idea, but I’ll keep my feelings to myself,» he replied.

Queensland coach Billy Slater refused to answer questions related to the controversial decision despite being asked several times

Slater was then asked if he thought Sua’ali’i’s hit warranted a send-off.

«Really?» fired at the journalist.

Slater was also asked what he thought of the tackle during the match by Channel Nine, to which he curtly replied: «You probably don’t want to know.»

Meanwhile, Queensland assistant coach Johnathan Thurston accused NSW of targeting Reece Walsh.

«Everyone saw it and it was unfortunate that Sua’ali’i made his debut,» Maroons great Thurston said.

«It was direct, heavy contact to the head and they clearly had a target on (Walsh) … the officials had no choice.»

Queensland manager Nate Myles – who played 32 Origin games for the Maroons – gave Suaali a spray as he left the field and told the NSW man to «enjoy your bloody debut».

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Myles said the Blues played down their tactical ploy to destroy Walsh, who had been tackled hard to the ground by striker Liam Martin just minutes before the incident in Suaalia.

Queensland assistant coach Johnathan Thurston (pictured) has accused the Blues of targeting Reece Walsh.

Queensland assistant coach Johnathan Thurston (pictured) has accused the Blues of targeting Reece Walsh.

Myles (left) repeatedly shouted

Myles (left) repeatedly shouted «enjoy your bloody debut» at Sua’ali’i (right) and only stopped his outburst when confronted by an NRL official.

«(Suaalii) got it wrong and … it’s not a good look for the game,» Myles said.

“Controlled aggression is key now. Controlled aggression doesn’t hit the right spot every time, it’s what you do every play.

«The good side sticks to their tactics and doesn’t do it wrong.

“The play on Reece from behind, they didn’t do that.

Myles said he wasn’t suggesting Walsh needed to be wrapped in cotton wool.

«No one needs protection, it’s rugby league but there are rules,» he said.

“We want the game to thrive. It’s going great, but we have to look after the players and keep them on the pitch.

“When (Walsh) came back on the bench I knew he was fine, but there’s a safety protocol and there’s a reason guys don’t play back-to-back games anymore.

“It would be good to see a young man like Reece go to the game.

Maroons player Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow switched from center to fullback when Walsh went off and got the flap and scored three tries.

The ‘Hammer’ was impressed with Suaalii’s hit and said the Blues center got what he deserved.

«It’s bad, right in the head,» Tabuai-Fidow said.

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«It’s something we try to get out of the game to protect the players.» He is fine now.

«It didn’t surprise me at all. I watched it back on the big screen and it was straight to the point. We all knew he would be sent away.’



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