Latrell Mitchell charged by NRL as fans left fuming over sin-bin farce in State of Origin 2

Fans were left seething over several controversies in Game 2.

Latrell Mitchell is free to play in the State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium on July 17 after avoiding suspension over a high shot on Xavier Coates in the Blues' thumping 38-18 win over the Maroons in Game 2. NSW kept the series alive with a dominant display at the MCG on Wednesday night, but there were several head-scratching refereeing decisions that left fans fuming after the game.

Mitchell - who was booed by the MCG crowd in ugly scenes after the match - was perhaps lucky not be sent for 10 in the bin when he charged at Coates off a Blues kick and accidentally caught the Maroons winger in the head with his arm as he made the tackle. Mitchell's disciplinary record could have seen him rubbed out of the Origin decider with a medium grade charge but he only received a grade one careless high tackle charge and will escape with just a fine over the incident.

Pictured left is Latrell Mitchell during State of Origin Game 2 and Blues teammate Liam Martin on the right.
Latrell Mitchell escaped a sin bin for a high tackle in the first half while Blues teammate Liam Martin was sent for 10 after a head rub on Jaydn Su'A in the second half. Pic: Getty/Nine

It was hardly the only controversial decision from officials at the MCG, with Blues enforcer Liam Martin at the centre of two other major flashpoints. The first came in 36th minute when Martin was penalised for a lifting tackle on Maroons forward Reuben Cotter that even Blues great Andrew Johns thought warranted 10 in the bin.

“This will be a sin bin to Liam Martin, if they’re consistent,” Johns said on Channel Nine's coverage. “We saw one on the weekend with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for the Warriors. Gets him up. Gets him over the parallel." Johns was referencing a tackle from Tuivasa-Sheck that earned the Warriors star 10 in the bin during his side's thrashing by the Titans, which many fans thought was extremely harsh at the time.

Martin stayed on the field for the lifting tackle on Cotter, with referee Ashley Klein and the bunker deeming it only worthy of a penalty, causing viewers to hit out over the inconsistencies from officials. The Blues forward did eventually end up in the sin bin during the second half for a bizarre incident that only enraged fans further.

When Spencer Leniu's massive tackle on Jaydn Su'A forced a knock on from the Maroons forward, a huge melee ensued between players from both sides. Martin was at the thick of it and was seen rubbing Su'A's head, with Maroons forward Patrick Carrigan also identified as one of the main offenders for running in and exacerbating the drama. Referee Klein had clearly become fed up by this point and could be seen addressing Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans and Isaah Yeo.

Seen here, second half melee in Origin Game 2.
Liam Martin and Patrick Carrigan were both sent to the sin bin after a second half melee in Origin Game 2. Pic: Getty

"Don't send anyone to the bin," Johns said as Klein chatted with the players and the bunker. "I don't know what's happened here... let's just play footy boys," Maroons legend Cameron Smith added. To the astonishment of just about everyone watching though, Martin and Carrigan were sent to the sin bin over an incident that was far less serious than the earlier flashpoints.

"So Liam went for rubbing the head when we've seen grapples, we've seen picking up and dumping, we've seen Latrell chin someone but you rub someone's head and you get sin binned," Johns laughed. Smith added: "Sin binned for that? Come on!" Plenty of angry fans took to social media to agree with the league greats and slam the officials over the glaring inconsistencies.

Mitchell Moses was outstanding in a man of the match display for the Blues after being recalled at the expense of Nicho Hynes. The Eels halfback's superb performance included four try assists, some huge defence typified by a couple of massive hits on Maroons playmaker Tom Dearden and a brilliant kicking game that kept NSW on the front foot for most of the game.


Angus Crichton, Payne Haas, Zac Lomax and Dylan Edwards were also immense for the Blues, who essentially wrapped up the contest in one of the most dominant first half displays in Origin history. NSW ran rampant with six unanswered tries, including Martin's opener, doubles from Brian To'o and Lomax and one each from Mitchell and Edwards to effectively sew up the result in the first 40 minutes.

"It was nice to see the leaders went out and controlled the game," NSW coach Michael Maguire said after the game. "What you saw in the first half is what I believe this group is capable of. We have got to replicate that. Mitch came in and did what I believed he was capable of doing, he was strong with the way he wanted to play the game."