Maroons debutant Gavin Cooper says he has no hard feelings for an ugly second-half incident that resulted in Blues forward Andrew Fifita being sent to the sin bin.
Cooper was placed in a headlock by Fifita after appearing to throw the ball at Blues five-eighth Matt Mylan moments after he crossed for a try in the 52nd minute to get his side back in the contest.
The Maroons back-rower said the incident typified what it meant to play Origin, and bemoaned the fact his side couldn't capitalise on the numerical advantage.
"I don't really remember too much after the try," Cooper said.
"I knew someone tried to take my head off and put it in a shopping bag and take it home. It is what it is.
"It just shows what Origin is all about; sticking up for your mate.
"I didn't think too much of it at the time, but I knew who it was straight away after it.
"He got 10 in the bin and let his team down for a bit. I thought we might have been able to capitalise with them having 12 on the field for a little while, but they defended really well with him off."
The incident threatened to overshadow what should have been a special moment for the 30-year-old in his first game as a Maroon.
But according to Cooper, completing a rare clean sweep would have trumped the personal glory of crossing the stripe.
"I'll give back the try for a win," the 2015 premiership-winner said.
"I thought we might have done enough with a couple of minutes to go, but it wasn't meant to be. I really thought we were close, but we got pipped at the post."
Still in his prime, Cooper doesn't want to go down as a one-game Origin player and has his eye on retaining his spot in the side in 2017.
"I don't want to just be here for one game," he said.
"I think I've got at least a couple, if not a few good years left in the NRL. Hopefully I showed tonight that I didn't look out of place in a Maroon jersey.
"People keep talking about age and that sort of stuff, but the boys in our team, I think everyone can hold their heads high whether they're 22 like Oatesy (Corey Oates), or Corey Parker who's 45.
"It's been a tough team to crack over the past 10 years since I made my debut in '06, but I wouldn't have it any other way."
With the game done and dusted, Cooper could reflect on what had been a crazy week in which his partner gave birth to the couple's second child while he was trying to fit in with his new teammates ahead of his first game at Origin level.
His selection capped off a dream 12 months that included a maiden NRL premiership with the Cowboys, but he said even that night was dwarfed by the speed of Origin football.
"I might have heard it, but to experience it myself was something pretty special," Cooper said when asked about the speed of the game.
"I didn't think footy could get much faster or harder than the GF last year, but it definitely stepped up another level. I've really enjoyed my time here. It's been a hectic week for me but it's something I'll never forget.
"I don't know if it made it a bit sweeter, but I had a bit of time to myself in the room this week after doing a couple of trips to Townsville to make sure my wife and little fella are okay. I wouldn't have it any other way."
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