“IT’S A KNOCKOUT,” came Thursday’s thunderous headline, accompanied by a sickening close-up of Walsh stricken on the turf, his eyes rolling back in his head. It’s confronting stuff.

GRAPHIC CONTENT: The Daily Telegraph’s front page on Thursday.

GRAPHIC CONTENT: The Daily Telegraph’s front page on Thursday.

Now at CBD, we’re all for a bit of old school Origin biffo now and again. But appearing to take giddy pleasure in the sight of a young man (Walsh is 21) visibly concussed seems to be taking the whole Origin-as-war thing way too far.

And as always with these things, context is everything. Over the past few months, retired Maroons legend Wally Lewis, about as hardened an Origin competitor as there ever was, has been touring the corridors of power describing his experiences with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The disease, induced by years of head knocks and concussions, eats away at the brain, causing memory loss, dementia and even suicidality.

Lewis, who says short-term memory loss has spoiled his day-to-day life, got a check after learning that his friend Paul Green, another former Queensland star and premiership-winning coach, had been suffering severe CTE before he died by suicide in 2022.

With all this awareness now of the awful toll such high hits can have, the tabloid’s blustery front page seemed all the more gratuitous. The Tele’s editor Ben English declined to comment when we asked him about this.

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