Brisbane Broncos crush Wests Tigers 36-0 at Suncorp Stadium
Not much went right for NSW hopeful James Tedesco but most concern was for Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough after his sickening head knock soured the Broncos' 36-0 NRL thumping of Wests Tigers.
Incumbent Blues No.1 Tedesco fluffed his final chance to stake a State of Origin claim as the hosts romped to their sixth straight win in front of a crowd of 21,197 at a wet Suncorp Stadium.
However, the victory came at a price after McCullough was knocked out cold when caught in an awkward position trying to tackle Kyle Lovett in the 58th minute.
McCullough's head was split open by the impact and he was treated for minutes on the field before being taken from the field on a medicab.
Tedesco at least finished the game, but little else went the NSW speedster's way on Friday night.
Before the match, there was speculation Gold Coast's Jarryd Hayne may be putting pressure on Tedesco for the NSW No.1 jersey.
And Tedesco did little to end the talk with a frustrating display that included not one but three disallowed tries and a stint in the sin bin.
Tedesco got his marching orders in the 33rd minute for a professional foul then watched from the sidelines as Brisbane scored two tries in his absence to jump to a 24-0 halftime lead.
He also couldn't take a trick when he was on the field, having tries disallowed for off-side, obstruction and a forward pass.
Then again, Tedesco wasn't alone.
The signs were ominous for the second-from-bottom Tigers when they lost halfback Luke Brooks before kick-off with a hamstring injury.
Jordan Rankin replaced Brooks in the run-on side to form a new halves pairing with Jack Littlejohn, who wore the No.6 jersey vacated by Mitchell Moses' defection to Parramatta.
The Tigers at least welcomed back skipper Aaron Woods but even he provided some anxious moments when he started the second half on the bench nursing his hamstring.
Woods received extensive treatment at halftime but eventually returned to the field after the main break.
But nothing could stop Brisbane defying a heavy track and storming to a six-tries-to-nil victory.
Brisbane five-eighth Anthony Milford pushed his Queensland cause by laying on three tries and crossing himself on 55 minutes.
Milford is expected to be placed on standby for Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston (shoulder) when the Maroons team is announced early next week.
In another worry for Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary, reserve forward John Aloiai was taken from the field on a stretcher with a dislocated knee cap in the 75th minute.
And Tigers backrower Sauaso Sue may come under scrutiny for a second-half swinging arm on Milford.