Jarome Luai, the NSW five-eighth, has accused Queensland’s Reece Walsh of pulling his hair during their 26-18 victory in the State of Origin I match. Luai’s long locks became a flashpoint when Walsh attempted to drag him out of a scuffle by his hair.
Referee Ashley Klein was heard warning players to “control themselves.” Tyson Frizell, Luai’s Blues’ teammate, was penalized earlier this year for catching Luai’s hair. Luai quipped that he wore a wig but criticized Walsh for his actions, saying he ran away and that he loved that sort of stuff.
The Match Review Committee’s findings from the game did not mention the hair-pulling incident. Walsh showed his prowess when targeted by the Blues’ aerial assault.
Frizell crashed over in the 23rd minute, but replays of his try attempt showed the ball had caught the in-goal turf. Despite this, Frizell believed the loss was not due to the controversial decision.
When Stephen Crichton put NSW ahead 18-16 and Tom Flegler sin-binned for the high hit on Tom Trbojevic, the Blues were expected to capitalize on their lead. However, the Maroons turned the match on its head, leaving NSW to salvage the series in game two in Queensland, a feat they have yet to achieve in 43 years of Origin. Luai believes that they were in a great position to win the game with ten minutes to go, but the Maroons made the most of their moments while the Blues didn’t.
Luai said that they were still in the fight despite the defeat and were pushing to make a bit of history by winning in Suncorp Stadium.