The Cowboys missed Michael Morgan after he copped a heavy hit.
The Cowboys missed Michael Morgan after he copped a heavy hit.

‘Zip his mouth’: Dragons coach takes aim at Cowboys mentor

NORTH Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green might be getting a reputation around NRL headquarters after another explosion over an in-game controversy.

During the Cowboys'  22-14 loss to St George Illawarra on Friday night  in Wollongong, captain Michael Morgan was hit hard by the Dragons' Tariq Sims.

It left Morgan on the turf and he was helped from the field to go for a head injury assessment.

Morgan didn't return for the rest of the game but Sims didn't get put on report.

Green was not happy in the post-match press conference.

"I thought it was late and high," he said.

"He's not feeling very well, he didn't come back on so.

 

"They brought it up in the NRL about protecting ball players after they pass and kick, but they see it a different way there tonight."

Green said the game got away from them defensively and the Cowboys hadn't played enough footy in the middle of the second half.

But he said the loss of Morgan was the big moment in the game.

"That is what happens when your main half goes off the field," Green said.

"I haven't seen the replay apart from what we get in the box, which is eagle cam, so we don't get a close up look at it, but he didn't finish the game.

"Whenever that happens to one of your halves you are not too happy about it."

Green has not been able to hide his anger after some tough calls that went against the Cowboys in recent weeks.

Michael Morgan has given Maroons coach Kevin Walters a headache.
Michael Morgan has given Maroons coach Kevin Walters a headache.

Against the Tigers recently, Green took aim at some of the calls, including the Bunker overruling the on-field referee.

"I have got to be careful how I answer this," Green said.

"They will look at the tackle and it was spoken about in that meeting about protecting the ball players once they pass the ball.

"If they have relaxed and they are the dangerous ones with the whiplash and they can cause concussion.

"I'm not saying that was the case because I haven't had a good enough look at this tackle but it has been spoken about and how we need to protect the ball players too."

Dragons coach Paul McGregor hit back at Green's comments with a barb of his own.

"He (Green) blows up about a fair bit," McGregor said when asked about the hit.

"He had a go at Freddy (Brad Fittler) last week too didn't he?

"He's got a lot to say … Am I comfortable with the tackle? Absolutely, he wrapped his arms around him, how can you stop that momentum? It was looked at, there was a scrum packed, move on, zip his mouth."

Speaking on Fox League, Greg Alexander said the issue was the head contact.

"I'm surprised there wasn't a penalty blown but I think when you watch it in normal speed, if it was late, it was fractionally late," he said.

"We've seen a lot worse this year."

The Cowboys continued the downward trajectory on the ladder and Green was again angry when a forward pass took a try off his side late in the game.

"Again we get a try taken of us for a forward pass, which I'm a bit bemused by," Green said.

"I can't see how that was a forward pass from where I am sitting, but they seem to find them against us.

"That's frustrating and given the closeness of the competition and with the injuries we have got we need a couple of those calls to start going our way."

The Dragons had to come from 10-0 down on Friday night to record just their second win in eight games and remain within two points of eighth spot.

They encountered difficulties before the march with some of their players arriving later than anticipated after a multi-vehicle fatal crash on the Princes Highway.

St George Illawarra completed a huge comeback.
St George Illawarra completed a huge comeback.

Caught up in the traffic, Dragons bench forward Jeremy Latimore left his car and caught a ride on the back of a motorcycle to make it to WIN Stadium before kick-off and record his 50th game for the club.

The Dragons scored 16 straight points either side of half-time to take control.

Tom Opacic's second try pulled the Cowboys back to within eight points and they had another four-pointer rubbed out for a forward pass with just over a minute left.

Tries to Opacic and former Melbourne utility back Scott Drinkwater in his first game for the Cowboys gave the visitors the early ascendancy.

Fijian winger Mikaele Ravalawa scored his team-leading eighth try of the season to bring the Dragons back into the game and they trailed by just four points at half-time.

Dragons fullback Matt Dufty was having a hard time in the first half, dropping the ball that led to the first points of the night in a penalty goal.

He then looked to have scored in the corner but dragged his foot on to the touch line.

Dufty then made a mistake on a slow rolling ball to hand the Cowboys their second try.

Matt Dufty was having a difficult night but bounced back well.
Matt Dufty was having a difficult night but bounced back well.

He turned it around in the second, scoring off a cross-field bomb before setting up a try for Euan Aitken to help the Dragons skip away.

Second rower Jacob Host put the Dragons in control at 22-10, barging his way over the line before the Cowboys got a consolation try through Tom Opacic.

The Cowboys fought hard late, going over in the corner before it was called back for a forward pass to end their hopes in the game.

NSW State of Origin players Sims, Paul Vaughan and Tyson Frizell and Queensland's Ben Hunt became more influential as the game progressed.

- with AAP

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