TODAY |

NSW force Origin decider as Wayne Bennett blames media for ill-tempered clash

New South Wales has hit back to draw level in the State of Origin series with a 34-10 victory over Queensland last night.

Despite a stunning opening try from Xavier Coates, the Blues learned their lessons from game one to out-gun the Maroons in Sydney.

Tempers however boiled over after the break, NSW's Payne Haas and Queensland's Tino Fa'asuamaleaui both sent to the bin for sparking a scuffle.

The pair have history, they were involved in another - a schoolboy on-field brawl three years ago.

Local newspapers had revisited that story in pre-match coverage of last night's clash, leading Queensland coach Wayne Bennett to blame the media for flaring up the two 20-year-old's rivalry.

"I knew deep down today there was going to be a blue here tonight," Bennett said.

"I've worked with you guys for a long period of time now so I know you'll take no responsibility for it but that was a headline in Brisbane today.

"Wherever it came from about him going for each other, they're young men, 20 years of age, and headlines like that just throw fuel on to the fire.

"If that's not a headline today I don't think that happens tonight. They both would've read the paper today and it stirs the emotion in them, that's my point.

"They've got to be responsible for their actions, I accept that, but you're talking about 20-year-olds with headlines about two years ago and their dislike for each other.

"That fight didn't come from nowhere tonight, it was already brewing from this morning and the background as well."

The pair now could be in doubt for next Wednesday's decider in Brisbane.

Queensland are also sweating on the fitness of Cameron Munster who left the field with a head knock after an awkward fall.