See the moment Billy Slater loses his cool over Joseph Sua’ali’i’s shocking hit as Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston levels a stunning accusation at the Blues

  •  Billy Slater barely contains his anger over high tackle
  •  Maroons coach has tense exchange with reporter
  •  Thurston also outraged over hit on Reece Walsh

Queensland coach Billy Slater barely contained his anger over questions about Joseph Sua’ali’i’s high tackle that left Reece Walsh concussed and out of the game.

Sua’ali’i is facing four weeks on the sidelines with an early guilty plea after the shot to Walsh’s head in the eighth minute of the Maroons’ 38-10 win in Wednesday’s State of Origin series opener in Sydney.

Slater refused to comment on the matter in his post-match press conference and bristled at questions from the media.

‘I’ll keep my feelings about that  to myself,’ Slater said coldly before being asked if he thought NSW were targeting Walsh.

‘I have no idea but ill keep my feelings about that to myself,’ he replied.

Queensland coach Billy Slater refused to answer questions relating to the controversial tackle despite being asked multiple times

Slater was then asked if he thought Sua’ali’i hit warranted a send-off. 

‘Did you?’ he fired back at the journalist.

Slater was also asked what he thought about the tackle during the match by Channel Nine, to which he replied sternly: ‘You probably don’t want to know that.’

Meanwhile, Queensland assistant coach Johnathan Thurston has accused NSW of putting a target on Reece Walsh.

‘Everyone has seen it and it was unfortunate for Sua’ali’i making his debut,’ Maroons great Thurston said.

‘It was direct, forceful contact to the head and they clearly had a target on (Walsh) … the officials had no other option.’

Queensland team manager Nate Myles – who played 32 Origin games for the Maroons – gave Suaalii a spray as he left the field, telling the NSW man to ‘enjoy your f**king debut’.

Myles said the Blues muffed their tactical ploy to nullify Walsh, who was hit hard on the ground by forward Liam Martin just minutes before the Suaalii incident.

Queensland assistant coach Johnathan Thurston (pictured) has accused the Blues of putting a target on Reece Walsh

Queensland assistant coach Johnathan Thurston (pictured) has accused the Blues of putting a target on Reece Walsh 

Myles (left) repeatedly yelled 'enjoy your f**king debut' at Sua'ali'i (right) and only stopped his outburst when he was confronted by an NRL official

Myles (left) repeatedly yelled ‘enjoy your f**king debut’ at Sua’ali’i (right) and only stopped his outburst when he was confronted by an NRL official

‘(Suaalii) got it wrong and … it’s not a good look for the game,’ Myles said.

‘Controlled aggression is key now. Controlled aggression isn’t hitting the right spot every time, it’s what you do on every play.

‘A good side sticks to their tactics and doesn’t get it wrong.

‘That play on Reece out the back, they didn’t get it right.’

Myles said he wasn’t suggesting Walsh needed to be wrapped in cotton wool.

‘No one needs protecting, it’s rugby league, but there’s rules in place,’ he said.

‘We want the game to prosper. It’s going terrific, but we have to look after players and keep them on the field.

‘When (Walsh) came back to the bench, I knew he was OK, but there’s a safety protocol and there’s a reason why guys don’t play back-to-back games anymore.

‘It would have been good to see a young man like Reece go at the game.’

Maroons flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow switched from centre to fullback when Walsh went off and had a blinder, scoring three tries.

The ‘Hammer’ was stunned by the Suaalii hit and said the Blues centre got what he deserved.

‘It is a bad one, straight to the head,’ Tabuai-Fidow said.

‘It is something we are trying to get out of the game to protect the players. He’s alright now.

‘I wasn’t surprised at all. I watched it back on the big screen and it was straight to the head. We all knew he was going to get sent off.’