Cameron Munster says there was 'no malice' behind his kick to the body of New South Wales player Liam Martin during the State of Origin opener.
The Blues thumped Queensland 50-6 on Wednesday night in Townsville, with Munster turning in a noticeably subdued performance for the Maroons.
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Keen-eyed fans were filthy with the Melbourne Storm star just after the 20 minute mark though, after he was caught on camera kicking the downed Martin after the Blues player put on kick pressure.
As Martin was getting to his feet, Munster delivered a quick kick to the guts.
The act will cost Munster a $1,150 fine after the Melbourne Storm star submitted an early guilty plea.
"Look I will leave that to the judiciary and see if they feel it was necessary. I am a very competitive person and yeah he got under my skin but in no way or form or shape did I want to go out there and hurt him.
"You can tell there was no full swing, it was more me trying to get him off me. To be completely honest I didn’t really think there was too much malice in it.
“I’m sure anyone would be on the floor if anyone tried to full swing kick you and he got back, he was all over me and I just wanted to get him off me. I was frustrated with my kick.
"I wouldn’t say I lashed out but I was trying to get him off me.
“If Liam is listening then I’m sorry if he thinks there’s any malice in it.”
Rugby league fans on social media though, weren't fully convinced by his explanation.
Many called for him to either be suspended or fined over the incident.
Origin flogging worth nothing yet to NSW
NSW are adamant they've achieved nothing yet with their history of State of Origin heartache driving them to make sure the job is finished in Brisbane.
Almost as soon as Wednesday night's 50-6 drubbing of Queensland was over, Blues coach Brad Fittler was reminding them it'd mean little if they didn't back it up.
And he has every right to point that out.
In each of the last four years the Blues have had the biggest winning margin in any game of the series, but they have lifted the Shield twice.
Just last year they flogged the Maroons 34-10 in Game II in Sydney, but backed it up with a shock 20-14 loss in the decider at Suncorp.
Likewise, they only managed to sneak home with a James Tedesco buzzer beater in the 2019 decider after putting the cleaners through Queensland in Perth a few weeks earlier.
Which is why Fittler scoffed at the suggestion the scoreline meant his team couldn't lose the series from here, or that Wednesday's win was better than the previous record of 56-16 from 2000.
"This is Game I, I think that one was Game III so it's a big difference," Fittler said.
"We have had a convincing win every year.
"I'm quite aware winning a game by 50 here in the first game doesn't mean anything."
History is also against the Blues in Queensland.
They've lost their last four games at Suncorp Stadium, and haven't wrapped up a series win there since the 2005 decider.
"We haven't won (any game) at Suncorp for three years now," Fittler said.
"That's the challenge. This (Game I) is over now so the challenge is Suncorp. That's the goal ahead of us."
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