Thurston May Miss Origin 3 Through Suspension
Maroons halfback Johnathan Thurston may miss the origin decider after the NRL match review committee hit the star play maker with a contrary conduct charge.
Thurston has been charged with grade two contrary conduct after he allegedly made contact with referee Matt Cecchin in the Cowboys win over the Warriors on Saturday night.
An early guilty plea is not an option for Thurston as it will attract an automatic two week ban which would see him miss the Cowboy’s clash with Penrith this weekend and Origin Three.
Had Thurston committed the offence last year, nothing would have been done, however in the off season the NRL passed a rule that would see ‘Careless, reckless or intentional contact with a match official’ attract a contrary conduct charge.
Under the new rule it is ‘the responsibility of the player to avoid contact with match officials at all times during a match’.
Making matters worse for Thurston is the fact that he has previously been cited for making careless contact with a referee.
If Thurston is ruled out it will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Maroons, how are just one win away from a record sixth straight series win.
It would also be a crushing blow for Thurston as it would rule him out of playing in Darren Lockyer’s final origin game. Lockyer and Thurston have been at the foundation of Queensland’s extended period of origin success.
Should Thurston be ruled out of origin three, it is likely that Cooper Cronk will be moved from interchange to starting halfback. Titans skipper Scott Prince has also played origin at halfback and would be an option for coach Mal Meninga.
Maroon fans looking for a repeat of the 2002 Mr TBA episode, needn’t hold their breath as the NRL closed the loop hole that allowed Lote Tuqiri to play for Queensland despite being suspended.
In 2002 Tuqiri was suspended for two matches and looked set to miss origin. However the Queensland selectors did not name him in their squad for the origin match, meaning he was available for the Broncos clash that weekend, which effectively counted as the second week of his suspension. On the Monday after the Broncos game, the Queenslanders named Tuqiri as their winger and he was free to play because he had missed two club matches.
If Thurston is rubbed out for two weeks the Cowboys match against Penrith and Origin Three.