Jarome Luai called out over ugly State of Origin acts: 'Sore loser'

The NSW Blues gun has doubled down as fans have criticised the 26-year-old after his standover tactics against Queensland backfired spectacularly.

Jarome Luai stands over Queensland rival Daly Cherry-Evans on the left, and is pictured with blood on his chin on the right.
Jarome Luai's standover tactics against Queensland blew up in his face, ultimately being sent off for a confrontation with Reece Walsh in the dying minutes of Origin II. Pictures: Fox Sport/Getty Images

NSW endured a game two nightmare in State of Origin on Wednesday night, with Jarome Luai slammed by fans for what was considered unsportsmanlike behaviour in the 32-6 humbling at Suncorp Stadium. The Panthers five-eighth drew the ire of the Queensland crowd after standing over Maroons skipper Daly Cheery-Evans after a tackle in an attempt to intimidate the home side.

Luai's standover tactics, to put it bluntly, were completely ineffective. The harkened back to two moments in the previous two Origin series - the Blues' winning effort in 2021 in which Luai similarly stood over Felise Kaufusi during the NSW win in game one 2021, a 50-6 Blues win, and then an unconscious Selwyn Cobbo two minutes into game three last year.

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Luai latest effort blew up in his face spectacularly, with Cherry-Evans among Queensland's best in a series-clinching victory. The night ended on a further sour note for Luai, sent off for a late hit on Reece Walsh and accompanied by teammate Josh Addo-Carr, who had thrown a punch in the ensuing melee.

Fans did not look kindly upon Luai's act, while it left commentators somewhat baffled as well. After the match, Luai explained the hit on Walsh as being driven by emotion, explaining that he 'hates to lose'.

“Just a bit of emotion, I’m a sore loser as well so I am just disappointed man,” Luai said. “I just hate to lose, they won… it’s footy for me, what happens on the field stays on the field.

“It’s a good rivalry we have now, but Queensland won the series so good on them.”

Queensland have won two of the last three series now, with head coach Brad Fittler's job to come under further scrutiny despite boasting a 3-3 series record as Blues coach. Luai's explanation didn't go down particularly well with the fans either.

Jarome Luai tells critics to 'chill' after game II drubbing

The criticism apparently hasn't been lost on Luai, who took to his Instagram page at roughly 4am after the loss to hit back at those who had knocked him for his game II effort. He posted a picture of himself sitting against one of the goalposts, accompanied by a caption reading "Chill, All you idiots have work tomorrow morning.”

The Maroons capitalised through two controversial tries to take a 10-0 lead - the first a questionable put-down from Valentine Holmes on the tryline and a second to Murray Taulagi that contained more than a hint of a forward pass in the build-up. Those incidents left Blues fans seething but it was Fittler's decision to throw Damien Cook into the centres that really rankled.

Jarome Luai and Reece Walsh get up close and personal.
Jarome Luai's fracas with Queensland rival Reece Walsh late in game two saw him sent off. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Fittler had several back-row options he could have used to cover the injured Tom Trbojevic, with the versatile Cameron Murray left on the bench and Cook thrust into an unfamiliar position on the edge. It meant the Blues' dual dummy half game plan was out the window, with Reece Robson forced to play a full 80 minutes at hooker and Cook unable to effect the game though the middle of the ruck as originally intended.

Commentators and fans noted that Murray even had experience playing in the centres at Australian schoolboy level, with many suggesting that an edge forward such as Hudson Young would have been a better option at centre. As it turned out, Cook was inevitably exposed out of position by the ruthless Maroons, despite scoring a sensational try for his side's only four-pointer of the night.

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