Thurston fights for Origin start
QUEENSLAND halfback Johnathan Thurston will be fighting for his spot in the deciding State of Origin match next month when he contests a grade two contrary conduct charge.
The NRL’s match review panel yesterday charged the North Queensland co-captain after he collided with referee Matt Cecchin in the first half of Saturday night’s round 15 NRL game against the Warriors at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
The incident occurred when the Cowboys halfback came across in cover defence as NZ Warriors five-eighth James Maloney was on his way to the tryline for his side’s opening points.
The Cowboys have engaged solicitor Geoff Bellew to act on Thurston’s behalf at tomorrow night’s hearing at NRL headquarters in Sydney.
With an early guilty plea, Thurston would have received 202 penalty points. Losing at the judiciary hearing will increase the penalty to 270 points.
If he is suspended, Thurston will miss this weekend’s round 16 NRL clash against Penrith, the deciding State of Origin match at Suncorp Stadium on July 6 and the round 18 game against Newcastle on July 11.
The Cowboys have yet to decide whether to contest second-rower Tariq Sims’ grade two dangerous contact charge.
Sims was put on report by referee Cecchin following a tackle on the Warriors’ Krisnan Inu in the third minute.
Meanwhile, scans yesterday cleared Thurston of any serious damage to his ankle after he was injured as he crossed for a try in the second half of Saturday night’s win.
He has a small tear in his ATFL which should allow him to play against the Panthers.
Thurston, who said the injury had improved significantly in the past 24 hours, will not join the squad in training until at least Thursday.
Scan results taken on front-rower James Tamou’s shoulder late yesterday have yet to be analysed by the Cowboys medical staff and he remains in doubt for Sunday’s game.
Thurston led the Cowboys to a 30-10 win over the Warriiors on Saturday night.