Queensland forward Jai Arrow has been fined for slamming an already concussed New South Wales captain James Tedesco to the ground during last night’s State of Origin III.
- Arrow can accept a $550 fine if he enters an early guilty plea
- The Maroons forward apologised to Tedesco following the match
- Blues coach Brad Fittler said Arrow showed a “lack of respect” to Tedesco’s condition
Tedesco sustained a head knock when he collected the knee of Josh Papalii on a kick return midway through the first half of the Maroons’ series-deciding victory at Brisbane’s Lang Park.
Arrow then picked up Tedesco — who was lying on the ground — and shook the Blues fullback before realising he was concussed and signalling for the trainer.
Tedesco failed a head injury assessment (HIA) and did not return to the match. Arrow apologised to Tedesco after the match.
The NRL match review committee handed Arrow a grade-one contrary conduct charge and a $750 fine, which can be reduced to $550 if he enters an early guilt plea.
Arrow, speaking after the Maroons’ 20-14 win, said he did not know Tedesco was hurt when he manhandled the Blues skipper.
“I just want to come out and say at first I was fired up, and I am honestly not a grub like that,” he said.
“I didn’t know he was knocked out … If you watch the footage I go back and put my hand up.
“In the heat of the moment, a decider at Suncorp [Lang Park], of course I am out there to try and hurt people.
“But not intentionally when they are in a bad way.”
Blues coach Brad Fittler was unimpressed, telling his post-match media conference Arrow had shown a “lack of respect”.
“I’m sure he’d (Arrow) learn from that,” Fittler said.
Fittler’s comments drew a strong rebuke from his Maroons counterpart Wayne Bennett, who said there had been nothing sinister in the incident.
“Brad’s kidding himself … just watch it,” Bennett said.
“That was an instinct moment … [Arrow] didn’t realise Papalii’s knee had gone into [Tedesco’s] head.”
Blues halfback Nathan Cleary said he was disappointed with the way the match officials reacted to the incident.
While Arrow insisted he was unaware Tedesco was concussed, Cleary felt referee Gerard Sutton should have intervened.
“I kind of brought it up to the ref after it,” he said.
“I was like, ‘That’s not really on,’ especially when the guy’s knocked out cold on the ground.
Concussion was a sensitive topic during the State of Origin series following the Blues’ decision to allow Boyd Cordner to return to the field after sustaining a head knock in the opening match in Adelaide.
The New South Wales Rugby League received a formal warning from the NRL after an investigation into the HIA on Cordner found he should not have cleared concussion protocols.