Maroons forward Jai Arrow insists he is "not a grubby player" and has explained his actions after NSW skipper James Tedesco was concussed in the State of Origin decider.
Just 13 seconds after Arrow came on on the field in Queensland's 20-14 win at Suncorp Stadium, the NSW fullback collected the knee of Josh Papalii and was reeling from the head knock.
Tedesco dropped the ball and Arrow, who was in the tackle, lifted the Blues skipper and dropped him to the ground.
The NRL match review committee on Thursday announced Arrow had been charged with grade-one contrary conduct but would only receive a fine of $550-$750 due to his clean record.
Blues coach Brad Fittler said Arrow's actions displayed "a lot of lack of respect" but the Queensland forward, who called for a trainer after realising Tedesco was in trouble, said he was initially unaware of what had transpired.
"I have been told some comments were made about Tedesco and I just want to come out and say that at first I was fired up, and honestly … I am not a grub like that," Arrow said.
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"I didn’t know he was knocked out and if you go back and watch the full footage, watch me go back and put my hand up because I was checking his welfare.
"I actually realised he was knocked out when I slammed him back on the ground, which I am very apologetic about.
"People are going to have their comments about it but when I was speaking to him after the game I said, 'I am sorry. I didn’t realise you were knocked out until after a couple of seconds'. I am not out there to hurt someone intentionally."
When told of Fittler's remarks, Arrow said "everyone is going to have their opinion".
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"I had just come onto the field, went to tackle him and in the heat of the moment I saw out of the corner of my eye the ball drop out," he explained.
"So I thought he had dropped the ball and went to be fiery."
Arrow was later ruled out for the rest of the game after suffering a similar fate.
"I had a little bit of a head knock and went in and failed [the HIA], so I wasn’t able to return. I am obviously happy that we won," he said.
"I reckon I missed about 15 minutes of it doing my HIA, and then I heard the crowd erupt and knew something good had happened to us.
“Someone went in and said that Harry [Grant] had scored and I was in the little doc’s room jumping around like an idiot. That is probably why I failed my HIA."
Arrow said coach Wayne Bennett's pre-game "speech" was short on words but big on motivation.
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"Right before the game, when we were about to run out, Wayne said I reckon 10 words. He said 'have a go tonight, don’t leave anything in the tank' and then literally walked out. We paused for a second and I was like, is that it?
"Then Chez [Daly Cherry-Evans] stood up and said 'let’s go boys, this is Origin footy and what you dream about at Suncorp'. I am very glad we got the job done.
"It is pretty special. I have never felt a feeling like that. I have obviously never won a grand final but I could say that goes close to it because I was pumped at the end."
Arrow will join Bennett at the Rabbitohs next season and said he "massively" wanted the coach back on board with the Maroons in 2021.
"The impact he has had here with such a young squad that we have is pretty special and I would love to see him go on again. He says all the right things and definitely got us up," Arrow said.
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"I love playing under him and it was good to see he got the Gatorade all over him at the end there too.
"He said to us before we got on the bus 'we are not losing this' and that was in the back of our minds.
"He said he’s been to three or four deciders and won them all so we didn’t want to be the first, and thank God for that because I didn’t want to hear the full-time speech if we’d lost."
|Time Minute of Match||20th|
|7yrs Incident Free for Discount?||No|
|Prior Similar Offences in last 2 years (50% loading)||0|
|Prior Non-Similar Offences in last 2 years (20% loading)||0|
|Carry-over Points to be Added||N/A|
|Misconduct on whom?||James Tedesco|