‘I am not a grub’: Arrow responds to critics after Tedesco shove

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Queensland lock Jai Arrow has apologised after pushing the head of a heavily concussed James Tedesco into the Suncorp Stadium turf, but says he is not a grub.

Tedesco was making a kick return in the 20th minute when he was collected by Josh Papalii's knee, losing the ball, before Arrow lifted the NSW skipper’s head and pushed it into the ground.

Jai Arrow came under fire on social media for his act.

The incident ultimately ended Tedesco's night and sparked outrage from fans and pundits alike.

NSW coach Brad Fittler said Arrow's actions showed a "lack of respect", while Queensland coach Wayne Bennett defended his player, describing the moment as instinctive.

Arrow was quick to defend his reputation when asked about the criticism post-match.

"I was fired up and obviously I've been told some comments were made about Tedesco and I just want to come out and say at first I was fired up and I, honestly, personally, am not a grub like that," he said.

Arrow said as soon as he was aware that Tedesco had been knocked out, he signalled for medical attention for the NSW captain.

"I actually didn't know he was knocked out. If you actually watch the full footage you watch me go back and put my hand up," he said.

"I was checking his welfare because I actually realised he was knocked out when I sort of slammed him back on the ground, which I'm very apologetic about."

Arrow said he had also apologised to Tedesco after the game.

"When I was speaking to him after the game I said, 'Look mate, I'm sorry I didn't realise you were knocked out until probably a couple of seconds after I threw him back on the ground'.

"People are always going to have comments about it but I know myself, I know what I do as a player, I'm not out there to try and hurt someone intentionally."

The criticism of Arrow was one sour note on a night that he savoured as Queensland won their first series since 2017 in front of 49,155 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

"It was pretty special," he said.

"To have everyone say that we're the worst Queensland team in history, to come out like that, I've never felt a feeling like that, I've never won a grand final but I can say that that goes close to it."

That "worst Queensland team ever" tag, thrown out by a Sydney journalist and former Blues captain Paul Gallen in recent weeks, was pounced on by the Maroons ahead of the decider.

Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans wrapped up his acceptance speech with a reference to the label, saying: "On behalf of the worst ever Queensland team, thank you very much."

"We didn't really care either (about that)," Arrow said.

"When you've got Wayne Bennett, Mal Meninga and Allan Langer in the coaching staff it's pretty handy to have.

"Right before the game, we were about to run out, Wayne said I reckon about 10 words. He said, 'I want you to have a go tonight, don't leave anything in the tank,' and literally walked out.

"We paused for a second, (thinking), 'Is that it? Then 'Chez' (Cherry-Evans) stood up and said, 'Let's go boys, this is Origin footy, this is what you dream about, a decider at Suncorp,' and I'm very glad that we got the job done tonight."

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