Talking point: The infamous punch. Photo: Getty Images
First Paul Gallen's fists of fury were ignored by the referees. Then his ring craft was virtually applauded by the feather duster-wielding match review committee. A two-week ban. One with an early plea. A parking fine for a hit-and-run.
So this horse has bolted. So fast that, by the time David Smith turned up to shut the stable door, he was left shovelling manure.
Far too late to start wagging fingers and warning of grave punishment for those planning reprisals in game two. By failing to act swiftly and decisively during and after game one, the bar for player conduct in this series has been set. It's so low that a triple-jointed gnat could not limbo beneath it.
Of course, Gallen v Nate Myles will have consequences. Just not those that more civilised souls felt entitled to anticipate.
Consequence 1: The Sharks were filleted and crumbed in Melbourne without their muscular leader. But Gallen's paltry penalty provided the bed rest Dr Daley might have prescribed for his hobbling skipper. A week off to rest a sore knee and allow the skin on the knuckles to heal. Punishment for Cronulla, reward for the Blues.
Consequence 2: Gallen's sentence for a seemingly premeditated - if not unprovoked - attack meant Origin's unwritten rule became law. Law of the jungle, actually.
Thus bloody retribution will be anticipated by the frothing crowd at Suncorp Stadium in a game where the referees have tied their own hands. After all, what ref would be so bold as to severely punish the Queenslanders for acts of vengeance when Gallen was not merely allowed to stay on the field after punching Myles, but was virtually chaired from it by the judiciary? Good luck to the man who marches Sam Thaiday in Brisbane after giving Gallen a free pass.
To that end, the Maroons were beaten on the field at ANZ Stadium, but have played a canny game off it. Rather than accuse and complain, they have grinned and nodded. Not because they felt Myles's aggressive play deserved a bunch of fives, but because they know they can unleash hell at home - and the officials are powerless to stop them.
Consequence 3: Origin II could be the most-watched game in history (the record TV audience is 2.626 million for game three last year). Gallen has made a far greater impact for his sport Australia-wide than he did on Myles's chin. Never mind that many viewers will expect a battle scene from Game of Thrones rather than an athletic contest.
Nine pledged not to show the Gallen haymakers, but doubtless it will milk the edgy lead-up like a prized heifer - as it is entitled to do. Again the violence of Origin has been sanctioned, so you could hardly accuse Nine of encouraging street violence by playing up the Gallen attack. The game's authorities took responsibility for any off-field ramifications when they turned a blind eye.
Consequence 4: There will not be enough scrutes in Brisbane to scrutinise Gallen before, during and after the game. He will have cameras in his face, taunts in his ears and a target on his back. Yet Queensland remain the outfit on the knife-edge.
Go too far - which, in fully sanctioned Origin terms, means producing an unlicensed machine gun - and they may be distracted. Who knows? They might even concede undisciplined penalties. Although if the Maroons are penalised for anything less than culpable homicide, Suncorp Stadium will be in flames by the final hooter.
Consequence 5: That inevitably counter-intuitive and socially irresponsible feeling. One that nourishes the neanderthals and trolls who have been spewing venom since Gallen's fists began to twitch.
As much as Origin should be about the brilliance of the athletes, and the many (legitimate) acts of physical strength and willpower, Gallen's brain explosion has lit a fuse under game two. This will be the most eagerly anticipated event this year. Call it a ''sporting event'' if you like. That's State of Origin. Sometimes a bit wrong, but always consequential.