Gold Coast coach Neil Henry has accused Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote of punching prop Ryan James in the Titans’ 40-12 loss to North Queensland on Saturday night.
“It’s didn’t look like he hit him, he punched him,” Henry said.
The claim could be a major concern for the Cowboys ahead of the finals, with the NRL’s crackdown on striking likely to mean a suspension if the match review committee deem there is a case to answer.
“They (the referees) missed it somehow, but he (James) got a bit of a whack, a sore cheek,” Henry continued.
Cowboys coach Paul Green claimed to have missed the incident, but not without suggesting that James may have stayed down in a bid to attract a penalty.
“I didn’t see it,” he said.
“I saw him lie down for a while, he’s a lot bigger than Cootey.”
Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott laughed off the allegation against the diminitive Coote.
“I can’t imagine Cootey throwing a punch at someone three times his size,” he said.
But if the NRL’s match review committee finds something in it, it could spell trouble for the Cowboys.
Titans prop Luke Douglas was the only player from the round 26 match against the Cowboys to be put on report, for a swinging arm on Coote was he was on the ground.
Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo may also attract the attention of the match review commitee after a careless high tackle felled Douglas in the second half.