North Queensland coach Paul Green is confident Kangaroos medical staff won’t take any unnecessary risks when it comes to the health of his star playmaker Johnathan Thurston.
Thurston was a last minute scratching for the Cowboys before their loss to Parramatta on Friday, casting a major shadow over his involvement in this week’s Test match against New Zealand in Canberra,
Green and Australian coach Mal Meninga shared differing views this week on Thurston’s availability for the clash, but the Cowboys mentor said he was comfortable to the national team’s medical staff would make the right call.
“That will depend on how he goes this week, it’s not my call it’s the medical staff’s but if he’s not 100 per cent fit he shouldn’t be playing because he probably risks being out for longer,” Green said.
“I understand it’s Australia, it’s a great honour and I’m sure all things considered the right decision will be made.”
Green’s stressed that player safety was paramount to any decision and also took heart from the fact that physiotherapist Steve Sartori and doctor Chris Ball hold positions on both the Cowboys and Kangaroos medical staff.
“The doctors will make the right decision regardless of whether they are with our club or not,” he said.
“It’s about what’s best for the player and if a guy’s not fit you’re taking a massive risk going in to a big game like a Test match.”
Thurston will travel to Canberra on Sunday and will be assessed by Kangaroos medical staff, with Sharks playmaker James Maloney in the squad as cover for the Maroons maestro.
Thurston’s absence added to a Cowboys injury ward that already includes Lachlan Coote, Matt Scott and Jake Granville and their experience was sorely missed as the Eels punished North Queensland at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Heading in to this weekend’s representative round on the back of two straight losses is far from an ideal situation for the Cowboys and Green wants his team to use the week off to address some worrying signs.
“When you’re disappointed with your result sometimes next week can’t come quick enough,” he said.
“Hopefully the fire will be in the belly for us to make amends because we are pretty disappointed with tonight’s (Friday) efforts.
“We’ve got the break next we’ll use it for that.
“Parramatta deserved to win, they played well, but we were probably a little bit off in a few areas that recently when we have been at our best have been our strengths.
“We need to do some hard work, see where we can improve and it will help getting some players back on deck.”
Starting hooker Granville and experienced custodian Lachlan Coote should be fit and firing in time for the Cowboys’ round 10 clash with the Bulldogs in Sydney.