Fifita explains Origin brain explosion
New South Wales Origin firebrand Andrew Fifita says his second-half brain explosion in the Blues' 18-14 win over Queensland was due to the way Maroons' Gavin Cooper treated Fifita's great mate Matt Moylan after the back-rower's try.
Cooper crossed the white stripe in the 52nd minute when his North Queensland connection with Johnathan Thurston saw them isolate Moylan on the Blues' try-line.
Fifita took exception to the bigger body bullying the slighter Blues five-eighth after a minor scuffle on the ground between Cooper and Moylan.
As Queensland celebrated Cooper's maiden Origin try, Fifita rushed in from behind the Maroons debutant and put him in a headlock which led to an all-in frenzy between the two sides and the front-rower's eventual sin-binning by referee Gerard Sutton.
"It's just one of those things where I hate seeing it, everyone else hates seeing it, when a big fella goes at a little bloke. I grew up with Moyza (Moylan) and it's more than just a bond between us, it's a brotherhood," Fifita said after NSW's four-point win.
"It was fair enough he scored the try. But what he did after wasn't called for, it was disrespectful.
"The referee said I got sin-binned because I ran in from 35 metres out. I think it was about 45 but even if I was closer I would've done the same thing."
Fifita went on to reaffirm how much Moylan meant to him with the two growing up together, but admitted he was in the wrong from a team perspective.
"Moyza's one of those people but I probably would have done it for anyone in the team. He's one of my little backs," Fifita said.
"I think the other forwards would have handled themselves if they were in that position. But to be honest, I have no regrets in doing it.
"I knew I did wrong as soon as I was sent off. It's just one of those moments. I thought I'd let the boys but it takes me back to the big fella, little fella issue.
"It was Moyza, he was one of my best mates growing up."
While the Blues earned their desired win in the end, Fifita said the 10 minutes spent in the sheds were punishing.
The scoreline remained unchanged during Fifita's sabbatical – with the Blues up 12-10 at the time – which he said inspired him further when he returned to the field.
Fifita only featured for 26 minutes in the end yet still produced a try just after half-time and 12 runs for 93 metres.
"There was no TV, no nothing in the sheds. I was trying to hear the noises. There was nothing," Fifita said.
"I was just hoping the score was still the same and it was when I went back out there. It was an amp up.
"When I saw there was no change, the crowd got behind me and I just heard everyone screaming when I ran back on the field."
Fifita's actions saw him charged with a grade one contrary conduct charge after the game which means unless he fights the decision he will miss the Sharks' clash on Monday night against the Roosters.