Former Queensland captain Cameron Smith has suggested NSW centre Matt Burton brought the fiery State of Origin fracas involving Maroons counterpart Dane Gagai on himself.
Burton and Gagai both escaped suspension after igniting an Origin series which had been timid and amicable until the 42nd minute of Wednesday's decider in Brisbane.
Gagai took exception to a shove on Maroons fullback Kalyn Ponga and squared up to Burton, unleashing a flurry of fists in a throwback to Origins of old.
Both Gagai and Burton were sinbinned by referee Ashley Klein and have escaped with fines totalling 23 percent of their match fee with an early guilty plea for their roles in the stoush.
Blues coach Brad Fittler said it was unfair that Maroons forward Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, who held Burton in a headlock as Gagai threw punches, wasn't sent for 10 minutes in the bin.
Smith said Burton knew he was going to stir a reaction when he pushed Ponga as he was getting up from the ground.
"The comments after the game saying Burton was harshly dealt with (are ridiculous)," Smith told SEN.
"Burton had an opportunity not to run through Kalyn Ponga. Gagai wasn't going to take that last night, he wasn't going to cop that.
"If the shoe was on the other foot and a Queenslander did what Matt Burton did, I'd expect Blues players to have a crack at a Queensland player and rough him up a bit."
The fines mean Burton and Gagai should both be available for Canterbury and Newcastle respectively this weekend.
Gagai was relieved when he learned he wouldn't miss any club games while a crestfallen Burton struggled to comprehend the loss as he sported a black eye.
The Canterbury centre was inconsolable after the 22-12 defeat and insisted he had not sustained a fracture to his cheek or eye socket.
"Whatever happens on the field stays on the field," Burton said.
"You don't want to get sent off and it obviously affects the team.
"The ref controlled the game and that's his decision.
"I'm not the ref, he makes the decisions and that's his call. It was obviously disappointing to not get the result."
Fa'asuamaleaui was hit with a charge for holding Burton back and for a shot on the NSW centre in the first half.