Green defends McGuire as NRL backs fine

Paul Green has leapt to the defence of Josh McGuire, while the NRL have explained why the North Queensland lock is free to play this weekend.

NRL football boss Graham Annesley has defended the league's soft touch on Josh McGuire's back-to-back fines for eye-gouging, saying incidents must be dealt with in insolation.

The representative lock copped a record $4,500 fine after he was charged with contrary conduct for raking his fingers across Manly centre Dylan Walker's face while playing for North Queensland on Saturday night.

That came just weeks after he did similar to Queensland State of Origin teammate Cameron Munster and also escaped suspension.

Meanwhile lesser-known Canberra forward Hudson Young is serving a five-game suspension for an eye-gouge on Canterbury forward Aiden Tolman.

Defending the discrepancy, Annesley said the match review committee could only judge a case by the evidence at hand, stressing that who committed it was not a consideration.

"There is a difference between a facial, for want of a better term, and poking around in the eyes of an opponent," the former referee said.

"When you look at the evidence available on that charge this weekend compared with the Raiders player, there's a significant difference in the evidence that was available.

"I know there is a temptation by some people to look at the player that has committed the offence and that then colours their judgement, but they're two separate matters."

Those comments would please Cowboys coach Paul Green, who said on Tuesday the club had initially considered challenging the fine.

"I think he's copping a bit of a bad rap," the coach said.

"He plays an aggressive style of footy and that's the way he plays, but he wasn't trying to eye gouge him at all.

"To suggest that's the case, it's unfair."

McGuire's second fine this season means his next offence will warrant a suspension regardless of the severity.

"I think he'll have to (warn him) because clearly they're keeping a close eye on how he goes about his business," Green said.

"I know he's had charges before around that sort of stuff, different things.

"He's an aggressive player, that's what we like about him, but he's not trying to hurt people. He's not a bad person."

Meanwhile, Annesley has urged referees to back their judgement in regards to knock-back calls after several were penalised unnecessary as knock-ons over the weekend.

And South Sydney's Tom Burgess (one game), Warriors forward Satae Tevita (one game) and Gold Coast firebrand Keegan Hipgrave (two games) all had their suspensions confirmed on Tuesday.


AAP