North Queensland backrower Ethan Lowe has refused to point the finger at Melbourne’s infamous grapple tactics despite suffering a season ending spinal injury against the Storm.
The Cowboys are reeling from news that the form second-rower endured spinal cord damage early in their opening finals loss to the Storm last week.
Lowe, 25, faces a three month recovery after going under the knife in the next fortnight.
He cut a frustrated figure watching from the sidelines as North Queensland kept their title defence alive with a 26-20 extra-time semi-final win over Brisbane in Townsville on Friday night.
But he did not want to play the blame game.
“I am not going to get into that, it was just a tackle,” Lowe said.
“I am not going to lay blame on anyone.
“It was one of those things, rugby league is a collision sport.
“Things are going to happen.”
Lowe did reveal that he had suffered nerve damage in his neck in just his second hit-up against the Storm but was able to play out the match.
“Luckily we were able to pick it up in time and able to deal with it,” Lowe said.
It ended a breakout year for Lowe who at one stage was named Queensland Origin 18th man.
“When the doc told me on Monday my season was over, that was pretty tough – I was pretty emotional,” he said.
“It hit me when I got home and I called my mum and dad, I think mum got more upset than I did which only made me worse.
“But I have now had time to let it sink in and deal with it – I am ready to get stuck into the rehab and get it over and done with.”
Lowe said he never feared the injury would be career threatening.
“Not at all. The specialist outlined everything that was happening and at no point was there talk of career ending stuff,” he said.
“He said I should be right for next year.
“I haven’t thought long term, I just want to attack the rehab and get ready to go for next season.”
Besides preparing for surgery, Lowe hoped to also mentor 20 year old Coen Hess who has stepped up into the starting side for the injured backrower.
Not that Hess needed too many tips.
Hess was outstanding against the Broncos, amassing 188m from 18 runs plus 29 tackles.
“He was in everything,” Lowe said.
“But hopefully I can talk to him in the next week and try and help him out.
“It was tough watching the boys and not being out there but in the end it was a great win.”