Queensland crush NSW, level Origin series
Punches still flew despite the NRL's new hardline stance but Queensland delivered a body blow to NSW's hopes of winning their first State of Origin series since 2005 with a stunning 26-6 game two win at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
Desperate to stay in the fight for an eighth straight Origin series win, the Maroons came out swinging in their must-win clash but initially piled on points rather than punches, scoring four tries to one in front of 51,690.
The stage had been set for more fisticuffs in Origin II after NSW skipper Gallen arrived in Brisbane as public enemy No.1 following his fight with Queensland forward Nate Myles in the Blues' 14-6 game one win.
Gallen's blows did not just impact on Myles' sizeable forehead.
It prompted the NRL to introduce a new "one punch and you're off" rule - a point reinforced by boss David Smith before kick-off on Wednesday when he stressed any Origin players involved in fighting could expect no leniency at the judiciary.
But it seems someone forgot to foreward the memo judging by a 54th minute melee.
After tempers almost flared in the 53rd minute when Queensland fullback Billy Slater went on report for appearing to lash out with an elbow on NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce in a tackle, all hell threatened to break loose barely 60 seconds later.
Queensland winger Brent Tate unwittingly lit the fuse when he pushed at Gallen after the NSW skipper tackled Johnathan Thurston.
NSW forward Trent Merrin took exception, clocking the Maroons flyer with a right jab before an all-in threatened.
When the dust settled, Tate and Justin Hodges were sinbinned for Queensland and Merrin and Greg Bird were marched for the Blues.
Asked about the incident, Hodges said: "I think it (sin binning) was for coming in.
"But I saw Tatey get hit so I had to come in like everyone."
The gloves came off from the outset but it was NSW who found themselves on the canvas early as Queensland jumped to a 14-0 lead by the 17th minute.
Sam Thaiday fed off Cooper Cronk to score in the second minute before winger Darius Boyd was over in the 17th as Queensland enjoyed 80 per cent possession.
By the 48th minute Boyd had bagged a double after running onto a sublime Thurston cut-out pass.
Greg Inglis pounced on a Cronk kick to make it 24-0 by the 56th minute before NSW finally got on the board via Brett Morris (69th).
"We knew they would get the jump on us and get the rub of the green," Gallen said.
"We have to improve everywhere (for game three) - more ball control, be in the contest early and go set for set with them.
"They had a lot of things go their way but we will improve."
Queensland were inspired by Thurston who remarkably was hospitalised on Tuesday night with a suspected stomach virus.
"We were a bit disjointed in game one. We knew we had to come out and play really well tonight - the boys were aggressive in everything they did," Thurston said.
The Blues must now regroup for game three on July 17 in a bid to break the Maroons' reign.
It marked the fifth straight win by Queensland at Suncorp.
Remarkably, NSW have not won a live game in Brisbane since the 2005 decider.
Queensland 26 (D Boyd 2 G Inglis S Thaiday tries J Thurston 5 goals) New South Wales 6 (B Morris try J Maloney goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 51,690.
Game 1: NSW 14 bt QLD 6
Game 2: QLD 26 bt NSW 6
Series: NSW 1 QLD 1