North Queensland coach Paul Green has vehemently defended fiery Cowboys forward Josh McGuire, claiming he has been "unfairly treated".
McGuire copped a $3,400 fine for contrary conduct this week after it was found he raked Dylan Walker's face on Saturday night.
Green jumped to McGuire's defence on Tuesday and said the club had considered challenging the charge at the judiciary.
“I think he's copped a bit of a bad rap," Green said.
"He plays an aggressive style of footy and that's the way he plays. He wasn't trying to eye gouge him at all. To suggest that's the case, it's untrue.
“I think he's being unfairly treated because of that. I think his hand ended up there but he very quickly moved it. There was no intention from him. He plays hard, he plays aggressive but that’s not part of what he does.
“Personally, he'd love to come out and have the opportunity to defend himself."
Asked if he thought the fine was too steep, Green said: “We thought about actually challenging it, but given the commentary around what's happening in the game around that sort of stuff, I think we're in for a bit of a hiding to nothing so we just thought it was better to be done with it.”
Regardless of the result on Saturday night, Green spoke of the bravery shown by his men even though a couple of decisions didn’t go their way.
The Cowboys had their three-game winning surge halted with last week's narrow loss to Manly but Green remains upbeat.
They host the slumping Wests Tigers on Friday night and will be out to make amends for the 22-20 home loss to the Sea Eagles.
“Despite a number of calls that went against us, that were pretty poor in my opinion, I think that was a really brave effort," he said.
"We spoke about the McLean tackle and that should have been foul play, so then we don't finish the game with twelve players, we get to replace him.
“The guys kept turning up for each other. A couple of tries came off the back of really poor decisions from the referees, which is disappointing, but we never hide behind refereeing decisions. We still had the opportunity to win that game and we need to be better in a few areas.”
Green believes next week's bye will be highly beneficial for his team and was optimistic about the imminent return of Jordan Kahu and Matt Scott.
“There's a couple of guys who are looking pretty good. Hopefully Matt Scott shouldn't be too far away," he said.
"I've named Jordan Kahu in the 21 so if he doesn't get through training this week, he will be a very good chance for playing after that and Jordan McLean is a good chance too.”
McLean suffered a hamstring injury in the loss to Manly.
Initially it was looking like he would be out for an extended period but Green said the club's medical staff were confident it wasn’t as bad as first thought.
“They didn't seem to find any issue with it even though there were two blokes hanging off his torso and one swinging off his leg," he said.
"We thought it could’ve been really, really bad given the way the tackle panned out.”
Green confirmed he touched base with the NRL about the tackle and labelled it "dangerous".
“You’ve got two guys hanging off, basically immobilising the top part of your body and someone swinging off your leg. We've seen what it can do to people," he said.
"Luke O'Donnell had his hamstring torn off the bone here. It's a dangerous position.”
Mitch Dunn dislocated his shoulder on the weekend, with Green saying surgery was inevitable.
“We're just weighing up whether or not he gets surgery straight away. If he gets surgery straight away that will probably be the end of his season," he said.
"He’s going to need surgery eventually so we'll just have to see what's best for him in the long term.”
Dunn had been a pleasant surprise for the Cowboys before his injury.
The 22-year-old was starting to play some consistent football and his versatility in a number of positions was a strong attribute.
“Any time you get injuries it's hard to deal with," Green said.
"It's frustrating and the fact that he's a young guy on his way up and trying to make a name for himself I think it probably adds a little bit more to the frustration, so it is a bit disappointing for Mitch. I thought he'd been really good for us covering a number of positions for us."