Nate Myles caught in ugly sideline incident with Joseph Suaalii after Reece Walsh hit

The former Queensland Maroons player copped a warning for his actions.

Nate Myles copped a reprimand on Wednesday night after the Queensland assistant coach gave Joseph Suaalii a spray as he was leaving the field after being sent-off in State of Origin I. Suaalii's debut for NSW lasted just seven minutes after he knocked out Reece Walsh in a sickening tackle and was given his marching orders.

Walsh's head snapped back with the contact and then slammed into the ground on the way down, and the fullback appeared to lose consciousness. He was deemed to have a Category 1 concussion and was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Nate Myles, pictured here mouthing off at Joseph Suaalii after his send-off.
Nate Myles was seen mouthing off at Joseph Suaalii after his send-off. Image: Channel 9

Suaalii was sent straight off - becoming just the sixth player in State of Origin history to suffer that fate. There were ugly scenes as he was leaving the field when former Maroons player and current assistant coach Myles was seen mouthing off at Suaalii.

Myles was on the sideline speaking to Selwyn Cobbo, who was about to come on in place of Walsh. The former Maroons enforcer could be seen giving Suaalii a gobful as he walked past, and Suaalii appeared to respond.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Myles told Suaalii “enjoy your f***ing debut” three times and was given a warning from an NRL official on the sideline about his behaviour. Interestingly, Myles played 90 games for the Sydney Roosters - the club team that Suaalii plays for now. But clearly state comes before club in Queensland, which might not be the same for the majority of NSW.

Nate Myles and Joseph Suaalii in State of Origin I.
Nate Myles gave Joseph Suaalii a spray as he left the field. Image: Channel 9


Debate immediately erupted over whether Suaalii deserved to be sent off for his hit. Many on social media tried to argue that Walsh might have slipped and fell into the tackle, but others pointed out that Suaalii was reckless and not in control of his actions.

NSW Michael Maguire pointed out that Walsh suffered a fractured cheekbone in an incident with Taylan May earlier this year, but May wasn't even sin-binned. "Earlier on in the year, he ended up with a broken jaw, I think. And there's no send off," Maguire said.

"This one was line ball, because he was actually falling. And the height of that in this moment had Joey clip him a bit. But it was a big call in a game like this."

Queensland coach Billy Slater refused to comment on the tackle when asked in his press conference. "I will keep my feelings about that to myself," Slater said.

When asked whether he felt NSW had made a point to target Walsh, Slater said: "I have no idea, but I will keep my feelings on that to myself. (Reece) seems to be OK now. He didn't look too good on the field. But he seems to be OK in the sheds."

NSW forward Payne Haas was in the camp of those who felt Walsh slipped. "I hope Walshy's all right, he's my teammate at club, so I hope he's all right," the Broncos prop said. "(But) I feel sorry for Joey, it's a bit of a hard one. We've all got his back and I'm sure he'll be back. I'm not sure what he's supposed to do there to pull out."

Fellow NSW centre Stephen Crichton said he felt for Suaalii after he attempted to make a big play early in the game. "I tried to connect with him once I came back inside," Crichton told AAP. "He just got his angles and that all wrong. He was going out there to make a play. Reece probably slipped a bit as well. He was on his way down."

Regardless of whether Walsh slipped or not, Suaalii probably has a duty of care not to hit him in the head. Suaalii raced out of the line to put a big shot on Walsh, and ended up leaving his feet to level him out. Suaalii has since been hit with a four-game suspension, meaning he might not play State of Origin again for a very long time.

with AAP