Blues get Origin shot at Arrow retribution

·3-min read

Seven months after Jai Arrow picked up and slammed a concussed James Tedesco's into the Suncorp Stadium turf, NSW will get their chance for retribution.

How they treat it next week in Townsville looms as one of the great talking points ahead of the State of Origin opener.

Arrow's roughing up of Tedesco in last year's decider remains one of the most unsavoury incidents in an Origin match since Paul Gallen punched Nate Myles in the head.

Arrow maintains it was an accident, not realising the Blues captain was knocked out and has since apologised.

Tedesco also claimed on Tuesday he'd forgotten about the incident and held no ill-feeling, insisting he only ever thought about it when quizzed by media.

But it was clear earlier this year that his Sydney Roosters teammates hadn't forgotten.

When they played South Sydney in March they went after Arrow, with Roosters forward Daniel Suluka-Fifita copping a one-game ban for punching him in the back of the head.

"Obviously the Roosters boys took it a bit personal, I think just because it's against Souths and there's that rivalry anyway," Tedesco said.

"There was a lot of talk about it at the end of last year but there's no bad blood between me and him.

"I don't think anyone's going to go out and take his head off (in Origin).

"That's kind of the nature of the sport anyway, playing against Queensland is a battle. But I have no personal battle there."

How the Blues will respond if it happens again is even more intriguing.

Fittler told Nine newspapers last week he was concerned that not one player stepped in at the sight of their captain being man-handled while in a vulnerable position.

In fairness, the ball was still in play as Tino Fa'asuamaleaui broke free, and several players were potentially unsighted.

"It was during the game and I didn't even realise it," forward Jake Trbojevic said.

"I saw it after, but I was more worried that Teddy was knocked out.

"I wanted Teddy out there, I didn't really know what happened. Hopefully this year Teddy is out there for the whole game."

Any aggression aimed at Arrow or any Queensland forward will have to be balanced with keeping behaviour in mind, given the NRL's crackdown.

Queensland legend Sam Thaiday on Tuesday encouraged the Maroons to get under the Blues' skin in order to provoke them.

But regardless, last year's Origin - or at least what he can remember of it - still burns for Tedesco.

After sliding into Josh Papalii's knee to cause the concussion in the 19th minute, he only returned to the sideline in the second half.

He also made the move not watch a full replay of the Blues' 20-14 series-deciding loss in the aftermath.

"I was a bit out of it ... I don't remember much," Tedesco admitted on Tuesday.

"Even the whole incident I didn't remember what had happened until I watched it back.

"It was tough, disappointing how it all ended for me and for the team. There's definitely a hunger there."

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