'Horrific' incident sparks chaos in commentary box and mass brawl amid huge concern for player

Reece Walsh of the Maroons is attended to by Ben Hunt of the Maroons after been tackled by Joseph-Aukuso Sua'ali'i of the Blues
-Credit: (Image: 2024 Getty Images)

Rugby star Joseph Suaalii was red-carded in the 'State of Origin' match for what's been described as a 'horrific' high tackle, sparking violence on the field.

The moment took place in the New South Wales v Queensland match, as part of the annual three-match rugby league series played between two Australian state representative sides.

Suaalii has signed a deal with Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs from October 2024 until the 2027 World Cup - which is being held in Australia. He is tipped to become one of the world stars of rugby union when he makes the move.

READ MORE: Warren Gatland's huge Wales gamble and why he's done it

Unfortunately for the union newcomer, he's got a stain on his record in league, with an extremely high shot on superstar Reece Walsh.

As Walsh offloaded to his left, NSW Blues man Suaalii absolutely flattened him with direct shoulder-to-head contact. Pictures showed Walsh looking completely dazed amid huge concern from players on the pitch.

The moment sparked chaotic scenes in the commentary box as the Triple M NRL team were left shell-shocked, as a brawl kicked off on the field.

Commentator Dan Ginnane exclaimed: "They might have to stop play anyway, because there is a lot of concern here for Reece Walsh. Joseph Suaalii has flown out of the line, and his night might be about to end. Because this replay is going to determine a lot.... he's planted his shoulder straight into the head of Reece Walsh!

"This is an enormous moment for Liam Kennedy in the bunker. Reece Walsh's night is over. Automatic category one, Woolly."

'Woolly' replied: "The players have all stood there, looked up at the screen, as soon as they saw what happened - they started an all-in brawl on the field."

Ginnane said: "He's off! Joe Suaalii has been sent from the field! A sensation, early in Origin one. This crowd is mesmerised."

You can watch both clips below.

Sydney Roosters man Suaalii was given a red card with just seven minutes played of the first match in State of Origin. Rugby fans and media personnel have taken to social media to voice their concerns around the tackle.

"Clear targeting of Reece Walsh and deserved send off. Doesn’t matter that it’s Origin, it’s a dog shot." explained one.

"Horrific hit to Reece Walsh's head. Walsh will play no further part. Sua'ali'i just the sixth player sent off in Origin history." wrote rugby writer Murray Kinsella.

Player welfare group Progressive Rugby wrote: "There’s nothing wrong with monster tackles providing they are legal. This is appalling."

The game finished 38-10 to Queensland Maroons, with the red card playing a huge part in the final score.