Maroons captain Daly-Cherry Evans told referee Ashley Klein that Dane Gagai was justified in punching Matt Burton repeatedly in the face because the Blues had been cheating ‘all series’ after his teammate was sin-binned during Wednesday night’s State of Origin decider.
The halfback was picked up on the ref’s microphone as he unleashed a fiery spray after the two brawlers got their marching orders just after the start of the second half.
Gagai punched Burton in retaliation when the centre pushed Kalyn Ponga over to keep him out of the play after the fullback had made a huge line break.
A fired-up Cherry-Evans tells ref Ashley Klein that NSW has been cheating throughout the entire Origin series
The skipper said, ‘What did you expect to happen?’ as he justified Dane Gagai punching NSW star Matt Burton in the face
Burton threw punches of his own before Tino Fa’asuamaleaui put the Blues back in a choke hold and players from both sides ran in to the melee.
When Klein sent the pair from the field a furious Cherry-Evans said Burton’s hit on Ponga was an illegal tactic NSW had been using in all three Origin games.
‘All game and all series, they have taken us out off the ball.All series! All series!’ he shouted.
The skipper then implied Gagai was right to punch Burton by saying, ‘What did you expect to happen?’
Klein told the halfback to settle his team down to avoid a repeat of the clash, to which Cherry-Evans replied, ‘I will, I will, but they can’t keep doing that s**t!They can’t keep doing it!’
The stoush between Gagai and Turnkey Sportsbook Software Burton was the first time punches have been thrown in an Origin match since Paul Gallen put a few into Nate Myles in 2013
Burton – who fired back with a few wild swings of his own – was sin-binned along with Gagai in the most dramatic moment of a match filled with sensational incidents
The first Origin biff since Paul Gallen punched Nate Myles in 2013 was the most dramatic moment in an incredible match littered with sensational incidents.
NSW forward Cameron Murray was hammered in a head clash and didn’t return after a tackle went badly wrong just after the kickoff, but worse was to come.
Queensland winger Selwyn Cobbo sent a shiver through everyone in Suncorp Stadium when he was knocked out cold just minutes later after copping some friendly fire in a gang tackle close to the NSW line.
He lay motionless on the turf while Blues five-eighth Jarome Luai stood over and taunted him in an act that outraged fans.
Lindsay Collins then had to leave the field for good when his head collided with a teammate as he tried to smash his fellow Rooster Daniel Tupou as he carted it up deep in Blues territory.
It was one of the most brutal openings to any Origin clash, and the physicality never let up for the rest of the game.