Broncos vow to keep JT tactics legal
Their sympathy won't extend to allowing Johnathan Thurston free rein but Brisbane’s forwards have vowed to stay within the rules of the game ahead of their clash with the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Cowboys coach Paul Green and co-captain Matthew Scott were seething in the post-match press conference at the vigorous attention their halfback received from the Knights on Saturday night, Thurston's left eye almost completely closed by the end of 80 minutes.
Beau Scott was the only Knights player subsequently charged by the match review committee for a tackle on Thurston in the 46th minute that sparked a minor scuffle but he will be free to face the Titans on Sunday night with an early guilty plea.
As the Cowboys' chief playmaker, Corey Parker said it is only natural that Thurston will be targeted by opposition defenders but insisted his team won't delve into illegal tactics in order to quell the reigning Dally M medallist.
"A halfback in any side, in particular [Thurston], is going to cop plenty of attention but what I don't condone – and we won't be doing it – is if you are outside of the rules of the game," Parker said.
"I didn't see the game but I've heard a few whispers and a few talks that there was some foul play so I can't comment on that other than the fact that if you're a halfback in any side, generally you're going to touch the ball more times than anyone else and in particular someone with the presence of 'JT' is going to demand some defenders.
"We'll be no different but there will be none of us going outside of the rules of the game."
A tackle by Broncos prop Josh McGuire on Sharks forward Chris Heighington after he had passed the ball was reviewed mid-game during Brisbane's 10-2 win over Cronulla with no action taken by the match officials.
McGuire admitted himself that he has fallen victim to the famed Thurston show-and-go but said that rather than employing any illegal tactics, reducing Thurston's time with the ball is the most effective way to restrict his influence on the game.
"Obviously you've got to play smart with 'Thursto' but he's one of those guys that you can't stop, you've just got to try and contain him," McGuire said.
"You've just got to play within the rules and hopefully tackle him before he can get rid of the ball, but that's the hard part.
"I don't know if you have to push the limit you just have to try and get good line-speed on him. The key is trying to make him play earlier but he's just so involved in every set it's hard to do it. He's one of those players, you can't beat him, you've just got to try and contain him, that's the hard part.
"He's just one of those players who looks like he has so much time on his hands and you get mesmerised by the way he shows the ball.
"He's definitely a guy who you have to be aware likes to run the ball as well as pass so you've just got to keep coming up hard on the inside and hopefully he doesn't beat you."