Josh Papalii is the best prop in the world but he lost his cool late in Origin II as Queensland watched the game slip further and further away.
NSW thrashed the Maroons 34-10 on Wednesday night, bouncing back from a shock four-point loss last week to send the game to a decider in Brisbane.
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The Blues were awful in Adelaide but never looked like slipping up on home territory as they frustrated the Maroons all night.
Papalii’s emotions boiled over in the 68th minute when tackling Angus Crichton as NSW boasted a 32-10 lead. The Blues back-rower’s forearm appeared to make contact with Papalii’s head as the two tussled, and the Maroons big man responded by grabbing Crichton’s hair.
The NSW star jerked upright in response and appeared to chuckle, before pointing at the culprit.
“Did Papalii just pull his hair?” Andrew Johns said in commentary for Nine. “He did pull his hair.”
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It’s an act that reared its ugly head in the women’s game this season, when Broncos star Amber Hall dragged Dragons centre Isabelle Kelly down by the hair, prompting St George coach Daniel Lacey to unload after his gun player was injured in the same tackle.
“I’ve coached women’s footy for a while now and I’ve coached a lot of young girls, and when you pull someone’s hair you let go,” Lacey said. “You let go. You don’t go on with it.
“I don’t think it’s a reportable offence by the rules, but you’ve seen the consequences of what happened.
“They can do what they want to do but they shouldn’t get pulled by the hair. If you do, just let go.”
Papalii wasn’t the only player who snapped as NSW and Queensland brought back the biff at ANZ Stadium.
Blues prop Payne Haas and Maroons enforcer Tino Fa’asuamaleaui were both sent to the sin bin after throwing punches, sparking a wild melee as stars from both sides came rushing in.
“Heaps of boys were holding me back. It was heat of the moment,” Haas told Nine. “Tino, we’re good mates.
“I just saw red. My grandmother and my mum and all that is probably going to get up me after all this.”