North Queensland Cowboys coach Todd Payten hints at ‘deliberate’ blocking of Canterbury Bulldogs

Cowboys manager Todd Payten laments the numerous stoppages imposed by the Bulldogs in head injury assessments and has raised the possibility that Canterbury is being “deliberate” in a bid to curb North Queensland’s momentum.

Play was halted for the Canterbury HIAs six times in the Bulldogs’ 6-4 win at Townsville, with Corey Waddell, Max King, Chris Patolo, Braidon Burns, Brent Naden and Jeremy Marshall-King all receiving medical treatment.

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“It hurt us, it hurt us,” Payten said in his post-match press conference.

“Without a doubt.

Todd Payten has raised the possibility that the Bulldogs are deliberately forcing stoppages for head injury assessments. (Getty pictures)

“If it was deliberate a few times, I’m not sure.

“But the game stopped when we had momentum more than twice.”

Stream the NRL Premiership 2022 live and for free on 9Now.

Coaches are no longer allowed to stop play for non-head-related injuries, but they can for head-related injuries.

They have unlimited access to the field to treat injured players.

NRL Highlights: Bulldogs survive against Cowboys in low-scoring battle – Round 1

Veteran rookie Chad Townsend made his NRL debut for the Cowboys in the first round, teaming up with young five-eighth Tom Dearden in halftime.

“I thought our conversation and communication was great. Everything was great all pre-season,” Townsend said.

“I feel really comfortable playing with Tom. I thought he was great tonight… We played a game and a half together. We’ve trained a lot together, but we can prepare you for what ‘a match is in store for you.

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