NSW centre Matt Burton and Queensland counterpart Dane Gagai have both escaped suspension after they brought the biff back to State of Origin in a compelling decider.
Burton and Gagai ignited an Origin series which had seemed timid and amicable until the 42nd minute at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday when the centre duo traded fists.
Gagai took exception to a shove on Maroons fullback Kalyn Ponga and went toe to toe with Burton to get the rowdy Queensland crowd up on their feet.
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Both players were sin-binned by referee Ashley Klein at the time, but crucially won’t miss any club football after the NRL’s match review committee handed them monetary sanctions for grade two striking charges.
Burton and Gagai have been given a fine worth 23 per cent of their match fee with early guilty pleas and should both be available for Canterbury and Newcastle respectively.
Gagai was relieved when he learned of the news that he wouldn’t miss any club games while a crestfallen Burton struggled to comprehend the loss as he sported a big black eye.
The Canterbury centre was inconsolable after the 22-12 defeat and insisted he had not sustained a fracture to his cheek or eyesocket.
“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 up to his decision and that’s footy.
“I’m not the ref, he makes the decisions and that’s his call. It was obviously disappointing to not get the result.”
The only other player charged from the game was Queensland prop Tino Fa’asuamaleaui who hit Burton with a high shot in the ninth minute and was also involved in the fracas with Gagai, holding Burton back as Gagai laid into him.
He faces a 20 per cent reduction in his match fee if he pleads guilty and will be cleared to play for Gold Coast against Brisbane on Saturday.
© AAP 2022