Valentine Holmes and the state of Queensland are on edge as the star centre faces potential judiciary consequences for a contentious hip-drop tackle on Isaiah Papali'i, who was returning from a suspension for tripping.

Holmes, a strong contender for a spot in Billy Slater's Queensland Origin team, risks missing Game 1 on June 5 if a ban is imposed.

Papali'i had to be helped off the field and did not return, prompting the activation of 18th man Alex Lobb.

Cowboys head coach Todd Payten showed crumbling resolve at the post-match press conference, trying hard to suppress his position on the ruling, defending Holmes' actions.

“I don't know what a rugby league player is supposed to do when they're going for a try and he lunges at their legs – he's gonna land on their legs. I've got no doubt where he's gonna land, but it's not a hip-drop. And our game has tried to stamp out the hip-drop where there are two guys standing in the tackle, or a guy standing in a tackle, and they lose their legs and land on the legs,” Payten said.

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Payten also eluded to inconsistency in the officiating, referencing a similar incident involving David Klemmer in the second half that went unpunished.

“Textbook was David Klemmer in the second half and nothing happened. The Bunker has every right to interfere then and get the call right. We lose one for 10 and just the inconsistency annoys the crap out of me, the players, our members and our fans of the game,” he added.

Tigers coach Benji Marshall, when asked about the incident, redirected to describe Papali'i's condition.

“It's not good. He's in a moon boot, on crutches, so he'll have to have scans. Really unfortunate,” Marshall said.

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Payten continued with his frustration over decisions referred to the Bunker that had significant impact on the game.

“Every time it goes into a Bunker situation I get nervous. Really nervous,” he admitted. “I'm sure players feel the same, because a sin-binning changes the complex of the game and it's so hard to wrestle back momentum. With all the camera angles, they can't be getting that wrong. Amongst other calls as well, it's just so frustrating.”

Both NSW and Queensland are missing a host of key figures with the highly anticipated Game 1 set for June 5. Valentine Holmes will be hoping he doesn't join the absentee list.