This week we take a look at the danger in tackling Tino Fa'asuamaleaui head on, the future for Blues coach Brad Fittler, and decide whether we trust Wayne Bennett to be giving New South Wales selection advice.
Read on as we tackle some of the big talking points in this week's NRL Real or Not.
Tino's forearms are cleared to continue cracking heads
REAL: Titans and Maroons enforcer Tino Fa'asuamaleaui was fined after Round 12, when the Match Review Committee charged him for raising a forearm into the head of Bulldogs defender Reed Mahoney. He escaped a suspension, allowing him to play for Queensland in the opening State of Origin.
On Thursday night, he was at it again; this time the defender was New South Wales hooker Api Koroisau, and this time a jaw was badly broken. Koroisau left the field after the collision and climbed straight into an ambulance.
"He's in hospital. The jaw is broken and badly broken. It is going to be major surgery for him tomorrow," Tigers coach Tim Sheens said after the game.
"He will be [out] a minimum of six weeks if he's lucky. I saw it from the box. Looked like an elbow to me [from Fa'asuamaleaui] but I'm not going to make a fuss about it until I see it [on replay]."
Koroisau will miss the rest of the Origin series, and his absence for three quarters of the game on the Gold Coast ruined any chance the Tigers had of collecting two vital competition points.
At least this time the referee placed Fa'asuamaleaui on report, albeit after some time had passed and the bunker had time to see multiple replays. Fa'asuamaleaui himself wasn't convinced that he had done anything wrong, again.
"It is a contact sport. I ran as hard as I can and [Koroisau] is obviously getting up fast to stop me, and came off second best. I am hoping he is alright and hoping I am alright too [with the MRC]," Fa'asuamaleaui said.
"I have been running like that since I came into the NRL from the start. There have been a couple of times where the players put their head in the wrong position."
And would it surprise anyone at all that the Match Review Committee completely cleared him, freeing him to take his place for Queensland?
Fans, coaches and players have just about lost all faith in the NRL and it's various inconsistent measures to protect players. Look for Fa'asuamaleaui to continue lifting his forearms into defenders' heads, as the NRL has decided it is fair play.
Win or lose Fittler remains the man for Blues job
NOT REAL: If New South Wales lose Game 2 in Brisbane, it will mark the third series lost out of the past four under Fittler's coaching. That is certainly not acceptable for a State of Origin coach who started with two straight series wins over Queensland, when the Maroons were at their most vulnerable after several key retirements.
Despite seemingly having the much better team on paper, and playing against some of the "worst teams ever selected", Fittler's record has been disappointing at best.
There have been calls for Fittler to abandon his fascination with picking Panthers players, and circumstances are conspiring to take care of that for him. Koroisau's broken jaw will see another piece of the Panthers connection ruled out of the rest of the series, following Nathan Cleary with his hamstring. Now one of his options in the halves looks unlikely, with Souths star Cody Walker to sit out this weekend with a quadriceps strain.
The pressure is on Fittler like never before, but he won't let it get to him. His ever-calm persona is more than a mask; he is virtually impossible to rattle. If this is his last series in charge, he will go out with a familiar smile on his face, a shrug of his shoulders, and the knowledge that he gave the job all he had to give.
Thanks Wayne, but the Blues have this one
REAL: Former Maroons coach Wayne Bennett has offered New South Wales selectors advice on who should replace injured Nathan Cleary for the must-win Game 2 in Brisbane.
Bennett would have only been responding to a journalist's question, but a more reasonable and expected response would have been for him to say that it wasn't his problem, and he was only concerned with his Dolphins. Instead, Bennett was more than happy to endorse Adam Reynolds for the job.
"Everyone knows how intimidating Brisbane is -- Queensland in Brisbane," Bennett said.
"They need to make a few tough team selections they wouldn't have done in the past.
"I'd certainly take him [Reynolds] ... he's the best game-manager in rugby league in my mind.
"His kicking gives you everything you want; he's calm. He's not going to be intimidated, you've got to get it right, otherwise it's all over for you.
"I'm going to go with the players I can trust to do it, and I trust Adam Reynolds more than anyone else."
I'm not sure whether the Blues brains trust were looking for Bennett's sign-off on Reynolds, or whether they are happy enough to go with Nicho Hynes. I'm not even sure of Bennett's motivation, but we'll take his endorsement in good faith, knowing he has coached Reynolds and would have been sincere in his praise. Still, there is a long history of mind games being played across the border, from sly digs in the media, to fake injuries and illnesses. The Blues need to shut out all the external noise, make their own decisions, and focus on keeping the series alive.