Queensland in hot water with NRL after possible breach uncovered during State of Origin 2

The NRL has asked for a 'please explain' over the curious scenes involving Reuben Cotter.

The NRL has reportedly written to the Queensland Rugby League for an explanation as to why Reuben Cotter was taken from the field for a head injury assessment (HIA) in State of Origin 2. Cotter was upended in a tackle from Liam Martin in the 35th minute of the game at the MCG, and Martin was penalised and put on report.

The NSW forward wasn't sent to the sin-bin because Cotter landed on his arm and not his head. But the Queensland forward was immediately taken from the field for an HIA - giving the Maroons a free interchange because the incident occurred from foul play.

Reuben Cotter, pictured here during State of Origin 2.
The NRL has asked Queensland for an explanation for Reuben Cotter's HIA. Image: Channel 9/Getty

But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the NRL wants an explanation from Queensland as to why Cotter was sent for an HIA if he didn't actually hit his head. The suggestion is that the Maroons were looking to take Cotter off the field anyway and took advantage of the free interchange when Martin was put on report.

Cotter had earlier clashed heads with Harry Grant, leaving Grant with a nasty gash on his forehead. But given that Grant wasn't taken off for an HIA after the incident, it's unlikely the Maroons thought Cotter needed one for that clash.

Reuben Cotter, pictured here landing on his arm rather than his head.
Reuben Cotter landed on his arm rather than his head. Image: Channel 9

Cotter later passed his HIA and returned to the field in the second half, and was right to play for the Cowboys on Sunday against the Panthers if he wasn't rested by the club. According to the SMH, the NRL has previously written to clubs requesting a 'please explain' if someone has been taken for an HIA without there being clear contact to the head. The NRL can dish out monetary fines if they believe the rules around HIAs have been breached.

Meanwhile, the SMH has also reported that Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was involved in a potential interchange bungle of his own. The Queensland centre came from the field in the first half after suffering a shoulder injury, but later returned to the game. However the sideline official reportedly wasn't informed when the Hammer came back onto the field, which NSW officials were quick to point out.

The issues with Cotter and Tabuai-Fidow have compounded a horror night for Queensland in Origin 2, after NSW scored six first-half tries and went on to win 38-18. Billy Slater's side have been accused of playing 'soft' in Game 2 because they felt comfortable playing a decider at Suncorp Stadium if need be.

NSW have only ever won two deciding games in Brisbane and will need to make history to win the series this year. Slater will be forced into at least one change for Game 3 after winger Xavier Coates tore his hamstring while playing for the Storm just three days after Origin 2.

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The Maroons coach will also be tempted to bring back rampaging second-rower David Fifita, after leaving him out of the first two games. “David Fifita has been in the conversation for every Origin game (including) the first one,’’ Slater said on Channel 9 on Sunday. "He had a bit of a chequered start to the season with a pec (pectoral muscle tear in December). He has been playing some great footy and those conversations will happen next Sunday."