NSW coach Brad Fittler believes Jai Arrow showed "a lack of respect" towards James Tedesco after the Blues captain was concussed in the State of Origin decider.
But victorious mentor Wayne Bennett fired back that "Brad's kidding himself", arguing Arrow was unaware Tedesco had been hit by the knee of Josh Papalii as he returned a kick in the 20th minute.
Tedesco lost the ball before Arrow lifted the fullback from the turf by the jersey and dropped him to the ground.
NSW struggled without their most dangerous attacking weapon and Queensland scored a 20-14 win at Suncorp Stadium.
"A lot of lack of respect," Fittler said when asked for his thoughts on Arrow's actions. "But I'm sure he'd learn from that."
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 3 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Bennett was adamant that Arrow had not intentionally disrespected Tedesco. The Maroons bench forward was seen signalling to the sideline for medical help in the seconds following the incident.
"That was in instinct, mate. That happened so quick and he didn't realise that Papalii had hit him with his knee," Bennett said. "As soon as he realised what he'd done, he stayed there. He never moved, he didn't run away and get a high-five or something.
"It happens so quickly out there and he just didn't know what had happened ... I thought he reacted really good. If you look at his head, he never even seen what happened. He was in there trying to make the tackle, he never saw the knee go into Tedesco's head.
"Brad's kidding himself, OK? There was no lack of respect there. Just watch it again."
Maroons played to Queensland standard says Bennett
Fittler said he didn't "think there was anything sinister" in Papalii's contact on Tedesco but admitted "it put a challenge ahead of us".
Clint Gutherson moved to fullback with Isaah Yeo coming from the interchange to replace him at centre and Fittler praised their efforts.
Fittler was gracious in defeat at his press conference, crediting the Queensland performance that thwarted his side's three-peat attempt.
He agreed with the NRL Bunker's call not to award NSW a late penalty try that could have taken the match to extra-time.
That was despite Fittler believing NSW winger Josh Addo-Carr would have scored if not for illegal interference from Maroons debutant Corey Allan, who was sin-binned in the 78th minute.
The Blues trailed by six at the time of the incident and weren't able to close the gap in the dying stages.
With Addo-Carr still 10 metres away from the in-goal as he chased a kick by Isaah Yeo and with Queensland players in the vicinity, the Bunker decided against awarding a four-pointer.
Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues
"Would he have scored it? Yes, but it's not a penalty try," Fittler said.
Fittler referred to NSW's inability to execute chances in the first half of their game one defeat in Adelaide as a major reason for the 2-1 series scoreline.
But he described the Maroons' underdog triumph as "a great story for State of Origin". He lauded Queensland five-eighth Cameron Munster, who was crowned Man of the Series, as an "awesome player".