'Playing dirty': Cameron Munster sparks more controversy in Origin

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Pictured here, Cameron Munster collects James Tedesco with his knees in Origin Game II.
Cameron Munster escaped a ban after coming into contact with James Tedesco with his knees. Pic: Channel Nine/Getty

Queensland playmaker Cameron Munster has avoided a ban after a controversial moment in his side's 26-0 loss to New South Wales that saw the Blues clinch the State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night.

Munster is free to play in Sydney's dead rubber Game III after escaping a ban for sliding his knees into James Tedesco in the second half.

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The Maroons five-eighth was placed on report but the match review committee charge deemed the incident not to be worthy of a suspension.

It means Munster will be free to play for Melbourne on Thursday night against the Sydney Roosters, after staring down the barrel of his third incident in four games.

Even the most minor of charges would have resulted in a ban for the Storm star after he chased through a Ben Hunt kick and collided with the Blues fullback.

Munster was handed a contrary conduct charge for kicking Liam Martin in Origin I, before copping the same charge days later for the Storm against the Warriors.

Any player who has had two offences in one season cannot accept a fine for a third charge.

Daily Telegraph rugby league reporter Phil Rothfield tweeted: “Munster has been playing dirty for several weeks now. He needs a decent ‘holiday’ for this latest incident on James Tedesco that could have knocked him out."

Not everyone was convinced there was much in the Munster contact with Tedesco though, with the incident dividing footy fans on social media.

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The Blues' 26-0 thumping left the Maroons with plenty of soul-searching to do, with the result marking the first time in Origin history that Queensland were held scoreless in Brisbane.

That followed a record 50-6 loss in Townsville, with Brad Fittler's current crop on track to eclipse the 2000 side he captained to a 3-0 series win that accrued an Origin-high 62-point differential.

The statistics tell the story, with this Blues' 17 arguably outplaying every one of their direct opponents across the first two games.

Battered Maroons scrambling for answers

Fittler said fullback and captain James Tedesco was "playing like no other fullback's ever played" and that the Blues had "played a totally different brand of footy that we've seen before".

"They scored 50 in the first game - not conventional, people playing all over the field - and tonight they defended their line to zero which hasn't been done before (in Brisbane)," he said.

"We don't all have to play the same ... we've got a lot of good athletes ... you play to their talents then we make the game very exciting."

Queensland's attempt to counter the Blues' speed, precision and dare with some old-fashioned brute force lasted about 11 minutes at Suncorp Stadium.

Maroons prop Christian Welch admits his side have been left searching for answers.

Seen here, NSW Blues players celebrate their series-clinching wi at Suncorp Stadium.
NSW Blues players celebrate after clinching the Origin series in Game II at Suncorp Stadium. Pic: Getty

"They're redefining some of the roles for the traditional positions of guys," he said.

"I've really noticed their back five do lots of dirty work, make lot of yardage in the first few tackles.

"Then guys like (lock) Isaah Yeo can come in a run that little two shape on the fourth tackle to generate a bit of speed and (halfback Nathan) Cleary gets a good kick away.

"Their front-rowers and ruck players have a bit of a different role and it's really working for them."

Avoiding a rare clean sweep is now Queensland's goal, Welch bristling at suggestions this loss could be the motivation they needed.

"It's deja vu after game one to be honest; it shouldn't take a bad loss to be motivated to play well for your state," he said.

"It's such an emotional pride you have to play for the maroon jersey and experiencing as a kid the joy that this team can deliver to our state.

"The next couple of days at school and workplaces (after a game), you do feel it personally when you come away down 2-0.

"There'd be a lot of disappointed kids and adults."

with AAP

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