Joseph Suaalii breaks silence on Reece Walsh sending off tackle as Queensland accuses NSW Blues of targeting fullback, news, reaction

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New South Wales rookie Joseph Suaalii has spoken out for the first time after being sent off just eight minutes into his State of Origin debut for a cheeky high shot on Queensland fullback Reece Walsh.

The Roosters star faces a four-match ban and an early guilty plea, meaning he will miss Origin Game II as well as a handful of club matches.

Standing in front of cameras outside the Blues’ team hotel on Thursday morning, he said: ‘Apparently a bit disappointed because I let my family down, my state and just my teammates down. I feel like that’s really the hardest part. I just have to move on from now on.”

He said he had received a lot of support from the Blues side: “One hundred percent, I think everyone in the team and staff has supported me, we have created a brotherhood. That certainly became apparent yesterday and today.”


Suaalii risks a long suspension due to Walsh hit | 00:33


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But he denied the move was deliberate, adding: “I didn’t mean it at all. I was just going to tackle him and I accidentally cut off his head. I hope he’s doing well, I hope he’s doing well. But yeah, I didn’t mean to hit him in the head.’

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Suaalii revealed that he plans to contact Walsh about the incident, saying: “I haven’t reached out yet, but it’s something I will do.”

It comes amid allegations from the Queensland camp that NSW deliberately targeted Queensland’s livewire fullback.

Maroon legend Johnathan Thurston said on Thursday morning: “Everyone has seen it, it’s a shame Suaalii is making his debut. We want to see our best players play in the biggest games.

“But it was direct contact to the head, forceful contact. They clearly had a target on him and it didn’t turn out well. In fact, the officials had no other choice.”

Nate Myles warned about Sua’ali’i spray | 00:30

Queensland coach Billy Slater refused to open up about the tackle in his post-match press conference and repeatedly shut down questions about the broadcast.

“You probably don’t want to know that,” Slater said when asked for his thoughts on the incident.

“I’ll keep my feelings about that (tackle) to myself,” he responded to another question.

Slater also refused to be drawn into speculation over whether NSW had deliberately attacked Walsh.

“I have no idea, but I’ll keep my feelings about that to myself,” he replied.

“A huge call in a game like this!” | 00:58

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