Illegal play knocked Munster out of the game
The NRL's concussion crackdown faces the ultimate test after the Maroons were robbed of star five-eighth Cameron Munster with an illegal play in last night's Origin drubbing.
Munster was knocked into fairyland inside two minutes at ANZ Stadium from what was undoubtedly an illegal play that went unnoticed by officials.
As Queensland's gun pivot watched from the sidelines, the Blues went on to rack up a comprehensive 34-10 win to send the series to a decider at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday
Munster was airborne in Queensland's in-goal when he defused a bomb, only to be taken out by Blues forward Tyson Frizell.
With his feet in the air, Munster was defenceless as he was caught by Frizell, causing his head to slam into the ground.
A dazed Munster was clearly affected when he stood up and after Boyd Cordner's controversial concussion return in Game One there was no way the Maroons No. 6 would be allowed back into the contest.
The NRL was flooded with controversy after last Wednesday's series opener when NSW captain Cordner was cleared to return after being left dazed by contact to the head.
The NRL launched an investigation into the incident which led to Cordner withdrawing from the remainder of the series.
If the NRL is serious about head related injuries the match review committee will on Thursday charge Frizell with dangerous contact.
Frizell made no attempt to play for the ball, instead collecting Munster and causing him to suffer a head injury severe enough to miss 78 minutes of the game.
The Maroons did not consider in-form prop Christian Welch for selection after he suffered a concussion in Game One and they now have a big decision to make with Munster ahead of a decider where Queensland will attempt to win its first series since 2017.
The loss of Munster so early threw the Maroons into disarray and they failed to recover as Blues halves Nathan Cleary and Cody Walker produced their best Origin performances to level the series.
Already susceptible on the left edge with injured centre Kurt Capewell (groin), the Maroons were exposed brutally as Munster's replacement Ben Hunt struggled to combine with the men either side of him.
That left the Maroons all at sea as Blues weapon Josh Addo-Carr carved up rival winger Phillip Sami.
On the other side of the field, Blues winger Daniel Tupou had the game of his life against Maroons youngster Xavier Coates, whose tremendous fourth minute try was a rare highlight on a tough night.
The underdog Queenslanders proved at the Adelaide Oval in Game One that they have enough talent and the right temperament to beat the all-star Blues.
Coach Wayne Bennett is unlikely to make wholesale changes and will show faith in the bulk of this team.
But to do it on home soil in Brisbane next week will take a near faultless performance from the Maroons and they can ill-afford to lose a player of Munster's calibre again.
Originally published as Illegal play knocked Munster out of the game