‘I thought he was knocked out’: Maroons question handling of Yeo after head clash – Brisbane Times

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Queensland hero Cameron Munster said the sight of Isaah Yeo stumbling around after suffering a head knock attempting to make the first tackle on Wednesday night made him feel “sick”, it was “not a good look for kids”, and “someone needed to take him off”.
Maroons teammate Josh Papalii, who took the hit up that flattened Yeo – and the one player who had a close-up view of his rival – was also convinced the Blues’ lock forward’s night was about to end.
Yeo said after the game he could “remember everything” and “just lost a bit of balance”. NSW medico Dr Nathan Gibbs said the independent doctor, watching the game through various monitors at the NRL’s inner city bunker headquarters, was the only person to assess vision of Yeo stumbling and had asked them to assess the Blues lock on the field, which they did before he passed the protocols.
“We asked to view it with the bunker doctor and the bunker doctor showed me the vision he selected,” Gibbs said. “He said Isaah had a hit to the jaw and we looked at that. He asked if we could get our orange shirt [trainer Travis Touma] to do a category three which is an on-field check. We got Trav to do that, and I reported back to the bunker and he said, ‘all good’.
“He played the game out without any ill effect. I didn’t see any of the vision post contact. The bunker doctor could see that.”
Queensland, however, were far from convinced.
Isaah Yeo injured in first hit-up, State of Origin.Credit:WWOS
While coach Billy Slater tried to be diplomatic with what he thought about whether Yeo should have stayed on the field, it was a different story with some of the players and Queensland greats in their sheds.
“I pinned my ears back, ran as hard as I could, and I thought he was knocked out,” Papalii told the Herald.
“He was definitely gone. First and foremost, it’s his health [you worry about]. He wasn’t OK. I thought they could have looked after him better there.”
Munster, who was hauled off for a head injury assessment during an Origin game in 2020, was the player most scathing of Yeo’s treatment.
“I know he is an integral part of their team, and they didn’t want to lose him … [but] someone needed to take him off,” Munster said.
“He is such an integral part of their team. He is a good player.
“For us as a game, it’s not a good look for kids.
“We have been speaking about it for years and years about the welfare of our players and our heads. It’s not ideal, but at the end of the day it is someone’s life as well. You don’t want him to get old and have dementia.
“To be honest, I was going to go and see if he was all right. I was going to run over. Then he started stumbling going back to the line. It wasn’t rocket science. You could have seen he was not well. It makes me sick. Someone had to put their hand up and take responsibility for it because it’s not on.”
Queensland immortal Wally Lewis was at Accor Stadium on Wednesday night and said he cringed when he saw Yeo stumbling around on the field.
“I thought, ‘he’s gone’. You could see him stumbling and almost fell over again,” Lewis said. “It’s not a nice thing to say, but I kept saying, ‘run at him again’. When you’re trying to win a game, you try to make the most of any problems with the opposition. He looked like he was in strife.”
NSW were hit with an official warning by the NRL when they allowed Boyd Cordner to return to the field in Adelaide in game one of the 2020 Origin series, which turned out to be Cordner’s last-ever game.
Yeo, who suffered his share of head knocks a couple of years ago, finished the game, and almost had the chance to level the scores with the final play.
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