Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston faces the judiciary tonight and is in doubt of playing in State of Origin III.
Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston faces the judiciary tonight and is in doubt of playing in State of Origin III. Cameron Spencer

CQ ref boss backs Thurston

BIG hits are part and parcel of being a rugby league referee. Just ask Steve Hamilton.

During his 12 years as a referee, Steve had his fair share of accidental contact with players, and he wasn't always the one who finished worst off.

“I've had plenty of collisions with players in my time (as a referee), but no one has ever been charged,” he said.

“I actually had one where a player was stretchered off the field after we collided.”

Steve and a host of local league identities are urging the NRL's judiciary panel to use commonsense when deciding Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston's fate.

Queensland is holding its breath after Thurston received a grade-two contrary conduct charge after running into the back of referee Matt Cecchin in North Queensland's win over the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday night.

Thurston faces the NRL judiciary tonight and will fight the charge which is threatening to rule him out of State of Origin III.

QRL Central division regional co-ordinator Rob Crow, who issues the grading for the Rockhampton competitions, said Thurston's intent would have to be clear for there to be any thought of suspension.

“What it comes down to is a bit of commonsense, and whether the act by Thurston was intentional,” he said.

“Commonsense would see a low-range charge and would have been sufficient with a suitable warning and his position in Origin III should be in no doubt.”

Like most maroon-blooded fans, QRL Central Division development officer Dominic Draper is suspicious of the NSW-dominant NRL judiciary panel.

“Honestly, it's a bit of a beat up by NSW,” Dominic said.

“It's funny that it just happens to be around Origin time.”

Comets coach Wayne Barnett believes it's all part of the build-up to Origin III.

“It adds a different spin to the hype surrounding the Origin campaign,” he said.



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