Origin News: Myles’ Suaalii sledge revealed, Slater sounds warning, Hynes under pressure to keep spot


Queensland assistant coach Nate Myles is likely to receive an official warning about his behaviour after he sledged Joseph Suaalii repeatedly as the Blues debutant made his way to the sheds after being sent off in the Origin opener.

Myles repeatedly taunted the young Rooster with “enjoy your fucking debut”, according to a NewsCorp report, after he was sent off in the seventh minute for his thunderous hit on Reece Walsh.

The sideline incident was part of the ground manager’s report at Accor Stadium but Myles is unlikely to be banned or even fined for his outburst.

“He got it wrong and it’s unfortunate, it’s not a good look for the game,” said the former Maroons forward. “If you aren’t good enough to be able to fire that every time, you have to control it.

“Controlled aggression is key now. Controlled aggression isn’t hitting the right spot every time, it’s what you do on every play. A good side sticks to their tactics and doesn’t get it wrong. That play on the Reece out the back, they didn’t get it right and it’s an unfortunate look for the game.”

Maroons coach Billy Slater would only offer “I will keep my feelings about that to myself” in reply when asked about the tackle.

Blues behemoth Payne Haas, who plays club football with Walsh at Brisbane, was more understanding.

“I thought Reece slipped into it,” he told AAP. “I hope Walshy’s all right, he’s my teammate at club, so I hope he’s all right.

“(But) I feel sorry for Joey, it’s a bit of a hard one. We’ve all got his back and I’m sure he’ll be back. I’m not sure what he’s supposed to do there to pull out.”

Suaalii’s State of Origin career could be over unless he one day returns to the NRL, with the NSW star facing a four-game ban for the shot that knocked out Walsh early in the Maroons’ 38-10 win on Wednesday night in Sydney.

With an early guilty plea he won’t be able to play before teams are picked for Origin III on July 17.

If he challenges his grade-two reckless high tackle charge, he will receive a five-match ban for the shot that thwarted the Blues’ hopes of victory at Accor Stadium.

Joseph Sua’ali’i is sent off by referee Ashley Klein. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It’s a bitter blow for Suaalii, who is no guarantee of ever playing Origin again given he is hopping codes to play rugby union from 2025, with no return to rugby league confirmed.

Walsh had been targeted by the Blues defence early and lay motionless on the ground, apparently unconscious, after receiving the hit from Suaalii.

NSW coach Michael Maguire questioned why Walsh had been sent from the field when Penrith centre Taylan May had not been sin-binned for head-on-head contact on Walsh earlier this year.

“Disappointing to see him get sent off, but that’s the way they called it,” Maguire said. “It’s a big call at this level. Reece was falling, I’ll have to have another look at it but it’s a massive call.”

NSW centre Stephen Crichton felt for Suaalii as he attempted to make a big play on the edge.

“I tried to connect with him once I came back inside,” Crichton told AAP. “He just got his angles and that all wrong. 

“He was going out there to make a play. Reece probably slipped a bit as well. He was on his way down.”

Slater’s warning for Blues

Billy Slater and leading Queensland players were far from satisfied with the 38-10 win over NSW in the State of Origin series opener and have vowed to up the ante for the rest of the series.

The Maroons did play against 12 men for 72 minutes in Sydney after Blues centre Joseph Sua’alii was sent off for a high shot on fullback Reece Walsh, which ruled him out of the rest of the match with concussion.

Maroons flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who switched from centre to fullback when Walsh went off, scored a hat-trick and veteran hooker Ben Hunt a double in a display that had scintillating attacking passages.

The coach was not getting carried away though. “I thought we were so far off with our footy tonight. That’s all to come,” Slater said post-match

“I don’t think we played the way we prepared. There is so much more for this footy team. That’s exciting. That is not for now. Now is about the feeling they are getting in the dressing room.”

The Maroons had planned a lot of their attack with Walsh front and centre but didn’t get to showcase those tactics.

Asides from that, there were stages in the match where the Blues threatened to take the game to Queensland despite them being a player down.

Xavier Coates is tackled. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The next two games of the series will be played in Melbourne and Brisbane and Hunt detailed where improvements must be made.

“I think there needs to be more gears,” he said. “We are going down to Melbourne and you wouldn’t think someone would be sent off again. It is going to be a lot harder game. 

“I still think we can be better in the middle. I thought we were a bit loose in the middle. I know they only scored 10 points but that is because  they had 12 players. We need to be a lot better defensively.”

Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans had a blinder but he was not content with that either.

“We have got to enjoy this moment knowing there is more work to go and more improvement in us,” he said.

“I don’t know if it counts for anything if you don’t go out there and earn the next two wins. They are not going to give us anything. It is all about us. There is so much work to be done.

Pressure builds on Hynes to remain half

Michael Maguire has refused to pick apart the performance of Nicho Hynes as the halfback’s position in the NSW side looks set to come under fresh scrutiny following an underwhelming series opener.

Starting for the Blues for the first time, Hynes was part of a NSW side who were reduced to 12 men and fell to a 38-10 loss to Queensland in Sydney on Wednesday. 

The Cronulla halfback struggled to leave his stamp on the game as the Maroons ran riot and that will only invite fresh intrigue over Hynes’ involvement as the series goes on.

Hynes overcooked a grubberkick to the in-goal which led to Queensland’s opening try and from there the Sharks playmaker was swimming against the tide.

Maguire’s team must win at the MCG on June 26 to save the series, and with Parramatta No. 7 Mitchell Moses back fit, Hynes’ place in the side is set to come under threat.

But pressed on his halfback’s performance, Maguire played a straight bat “I won’t make any comment about someone’s game until I go back and have a look at it,” Maguire said. 

“There was a pretty disappointed change room and I’m not going to talk about people’s performances here. I’ll have a look at it first and talk to them individually.”

Hynes was one of the few NSW players to opt out of addressing the media in the aftermath of the series-opening defeat.

The whole NSW spine could be up for reconsideration with hooker Reece Robson offering little spark out of dummy-half and fullback James Tedesco returning a mixed bag.

The Blues will rightly point to the send-off of Joseph Suaalii’s on Reece Walsh inside the opening 10 minutes as reason for their difficult night on home soil.

Maguire opted against carrying an outside back on his bench for Game I and that proved costly with back-rowers forced to carry the load by covering the centre role vacated by Suaalii.

Canterbury five-eighth Matt Burton, who has played Origin and Test matches at centre was on the Blues’ extended bench and his involvement would have been a handy addition. 

 “I don’t think anyone has ever planned for a send-off in an Origin game,” Maguire said. 

“We had all our rotations covered, ‘Huddo’ (Hudson Young) went out into the centres and we had Angus (Crichton) in the centres at some stage and they actually covered that really well.

“But when you’re 12 men, your middle is just working that hard and I really felt that the boys worked really hard for each other.”

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