Cowboys call for more JT protection

More dirty tactics allegations have been levelled at New Zealand, prompting North Queensland coach Paul Green to implore officials to protect his playmaker Johnathan Thurston from late hits.

Sam Moa has become the latest Kiwi forward to come under fire for dirty tactics in the wake of last Friday’s 16-0 Test win by Australia after his second half hit on Thurston.

Moa was penalised for the 44th minute tackle that flattened Thurston but was not cited by the match review committee, unlike teammate Adam Blair.

Blair will miss Brisbane’s NRL clash with Manly at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night after pleading guilty to a chicken wing tackle on Kangaroo Sam Thaiday – his Broncos teammate – that earned Gorden Tallis’ ire.

Former Brisbane captain Tallis described Blair as “one of the dirtiest players”.

Green admitted he “held his breath” while watching the Test and demanded officials stamp out the treatment Thurston copped.

“They are the ones that the refs have to be looking at,” Green said of Moa’s hit.

“The guy has passed the ball, the ball player is relaxed and then he gets whacked – that’s when guys are going to get injured.

“It is definitely an area that needs to be policed a bit better.”

Green said officials needed to eradicate late hits in the NRL now, otherwise it would “definitely continue”.

“You don’t want dirty, off the play stuff,” he said.

“We’ve got enough people involved as officials in the game so there should be enough sets of eyes so that things like that don’t get missed.

“Teams are looking at ways of nullifying players.

“But we want to encourage attacking football, we want ball players to be able to go to the line.

“You don’t want anyone to be disadvantaged.”

Thurston said he had been “rattled” by Moa’s hit which was described by TV commentator Andrew Johns as a “cheap shot”.

“It’s bad because your body rests. So once you throw that ball you are relaxed and when they get you it hurts – you get that whiplash in your neck,” he told news.com.au.

“So hopefully we can get it out of the game because it is very late.

“(Halfback) Cooper (Cronk) copped another one there on that last play, so it’s not good for the game.”

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