The Cowboys' Josh McGuire gets a pass away on Thursday night in Townsville. Picture: Michael Chambers/AAP
The Cowboys' Josh McGuire gets a pass away on Thursday night in Townsville. Picture: Michael Chambers/AAP

Cowboys coach Paul Green defends 'guilty' Josh McGuire

COWBOYS enforcer Josh McGuire will take the early guilty plea and be suspended for the next three NRL matches after being hit with a grade-two contrary conduct charge.

North Queensland coach Paul Green has leapt to McGuire's defence, however, suggesting the prop's reputation led to the severity of the charge and that calls for him to lose his Australian Test jumper were "ridiculous".

Green stressed the Cowboys did not condone eye gouging and could not afford to risk challenging the charge laid by the NRL match review committee.

But the Cowboys coach was adamant McGuire did not eye gouge Broncos forward David Fifita but was instead being punished for his lengthy rap sheet of on-field incidents.

"As a club we know Josh needs to keep his nose clean because of his history," Green said.

"But if you look at this incident in isolation, we don't believe there's really that much in it. The incident went for a half a second.

"As a club we also understand it's a bad look if we opt to go and fight the charge.

"No one wants to be seen condoning eye gouging. I don't believe this was an eye gouge.

"Josh is shattered. He knows he needs to be better because of his previous history."

Pressed about the prospect of McGuire being left out of the Kangaroos as a result of this latest suspension, Green said: "That's absolute rubbish, people suggesting he shouldn't be picked because of this incident."

McGuire has already been fined twice this season for contrary conduct incidents where he was charged with raking his hand across the face of opponents.