Andrew McCullough hurt in Brisbane Broncos 36-point rout of Wests Tigers
Not much went right for NSW hopeful James Tedesco but most concern was for Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough after his sickening head knock soured their 36-0 NRL thumping of Wests Tigers on Friday night.
Incumbent Blues No 1 Tedesco fluffed his final chance to stake a State of Origin claim as the Broncos romped to their sixth straight win in front of a 21,197-crowd at a wet Suncorp Stadium.
However, the victory came at a price after McCullough was knocked out cold trying to tackle Kyle Lovett in the 58th minute.
McCullough's head was split open by the impact and was treated for minutes on the field before being taken off on a medi-cab.
Wayne Bennett was still hopeful McCullough would run out next week against the Warriors.
"He was responsive. He's getting some scans but he looks like he will be okay," Bennett said.
Tedesco at least finished the game, but little else went the NSW speedster's way.
Before the match, there was speculation Gold Coast's Jarryd Hayne may be in contention for the NSW No 1 jersey.
And Tedesco did little to end the talk with a frustrating display that included not one but three disallowed tries and a stint in the sin bin.
Tedesco got his marching orders in the 33rd minute for a professional foul then watched as Brisbane scored two tries in his absence to grab a 24-0 halftime lead.
He also couldn't take a trick on the field, having tries disallowed for offside, obstruction and a forward pass.
Then again, Tedesco wasn't alone.
Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary admitted the off-field contract dramas that culminated in playmaker Mitchell Moses defecting to Parramatta had finally taken its toll.
"Obviously this club has had a lot of turmoil...and it's coming out in our performance," Cleary said.
"Nothing went right tonight. It's a test now of our resilience."
The signs were ominous for the second last Tigers when they lost halfback Luke Brooks (hamstring) before kick-off.
Jordan Rankin formed a new halves pairing with Jack Littlejohn, who wore the No 6 jersey vacated by Moses' release to the Eels.
The Tigers welcomed back skipper Aaron Woods but he provided some anxious moments when he started the second half on the bench.
Woods received extensive treatment on the hamstring that sidelined him for the trans-Tasman Test at halftime but eventually returned to the field.
Nothing could stop Brisbane defying a heavy Suncorp Stadium track and storming to a six-tries-to-zip victory.
Brisbane five-eighth Anthony Milford pushed his Queensland cause by laying on three tries and scoring another.
He is expected to be placed on standby for Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston (shoulder) when the Maroons team is announced on Monday.
In another worry for Cleary, reserve John Aloiai (knee) was stretchered off in the 75th minute and teammate Sauaso Sue may come under scrutiny for a second half swinging arm on Milford.
Brisbane Broncos 36 (Alex Glenn, Jordan Kahu, Anthony Milford, Tautau Moga, Kodi Nikorima, Korbin Sims tries; Kahu 6 goals) Wests Tigers 0 at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Gavin Reynolds, Grant Atkins. Crowd: 21,197