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State of Origin Game 2 was reduced to 11 on 11 for ten minutes, after four players were sent off for brawling after a mêlée in the 52nd minute of the game.
The brawl erupted after niggle crept into the game following an altercation between Mitchell Pearce and Billy Slater.
Pearce appeared to be struck by a Billy Slater elbow following a hard tackle, which left Pearce’s face bleeding.
Slater was placed on report, but just a few short tackles later, the Blues held on late in the tackle. Tackler Paul Gallen was pushed away aggressively by Brent Tate, and while Gallen turned to the referee to appeal in the background, Trent Merrin rushed in throwing punches at Tate.
Greg Bird and Justin Hodges rushed in to join the brawl, before more players from both sides poured in, some looking to find square-ups, some to pull the offenders away.
Referees Shayne Hayne and Ashley Klein were advised by the video referee, and sin-binned Maroons Brent Tate and Justin Hodges (for ‘coming in’ to a fight), while the Blues’ Trent Merrin (who threw a punch) and Greg Bird (who protested he didn’t throw a punch) were also binned for ten minutes.
The controversial refereeing decisions generated strong reactions from the 51,690 fans at the ground, and on social media.
Watch the incident, here.