Queensland forward Jai Arrow has apologised for slamming down the head of an already concussed James Tedesco after Brad Fittler claimed the Maroons player showed a lack of respect.
Arrow's move to bang down the head of Tedesco early in Queensland's State of Origin series win copped plenty criticism, including from the likes of Andrew Johns and NSW coach Fittler.
Tedesco's night ended after less than 20 minutes when his head collected the knee of Josh Papalii on a kick return.
But the 25-year-old Arrow insisted he did not know the NSW captain was hurt when he manhandled him, and he sought Tedesco out after the match to apologise.
"I just want to come out and say at first I was fired up, and I am honestly not a grub like that," Arrow said.
"I didn't know he was knocked out ... If you watch the footage I go back and put my hand up.
"I was checking his welfare because I realised he was knocked out when I slammed him back on the ground.
"In the heat of the moment, a decider at Suncorp, of course I am out there to try and hurt people.
"But not intentionally when they are in a bad way."
The incident fuelled a bitter post-script to Queensland's 20-14 win at Suncorp Stadium, with NSW coach Fittler claiming it showed "a lot of lack of respect".
That drew a strong rebuke from his Maroons counterpart Wayne Bennett, who insisted there had been nothing sinister in the incident.
"Brad's kidding himself ... just watch it," Bennett hit back.
"That was an instinct moment.. (Arrow) didn't realise Papalii's knee had gone into (Tedesco's) head."
Regardless, in an Origin series marred by concussions, Tedesco's heavy head knock proved a crucial blow for NSW.
He lasted just 20 minutes while five-eighth Cody Walker was also taken from the field after a head knock with five minutes to play.
Walker will be monitored over coming days, but was up and on the phone to his wife after the match.
However it will be Tedesco's injury that is bound to attract the most attention from the 20-14 loss.
With no extra backs on the bench, the Sydney Roosters player's blow could not have been any worse scripted for the Blues.
NSW desperately missed their No.1 man as Clint Gutherson switched to his usual position at fullback from centre, while Isaah Yeo was forced onto the right edge.
Tedesco had already scored NSW's opening try before he went off, and they would have benefited from his speed and power around the ruck.
And while they would usually look to their captain as a game breaker, Gutherson finished the night with just 70 metres compared to Tedesco's 473 combined from the first two games.
The withdrawal of Tedesco and Walker comes at the end of a series headlined by concussions.
The NSW Rugby League received a formal warning from the NRL after Game I when original Blues captain Boyd Cordner was allowed back onto the field after a knock.
Queensland then lost strike weapon Cameron Munster just two minutes into Origin II to a concussion, before he returned to earn his title as man of the series on Wednesday night.