North Queensland skipper Johnathan Thurston isn’t changing his stance on laying down after illegal tackles despite taking an unpenalised shot to the head.

Johnathan Thurston doesn’t take high shots lying down.

But after the Cowboys held out Souths 20-18 in Townsville on Saturday night, maybe he should.

With the clock winding down in the first half, the North Queensland captain was the recipient of an apparent shot to the head from Rabbitohs enforcer Sam Burgess.

Instead of laying on the turf to milk a penalty, he leapt to his feet and remonstrated.

That sparked an ugly push and shove between the two sides as the Sims brothers ran to their skipper’s aid.

But rather than penalise Burgess for his indiscretion, onfield referees Ben Cummins and Grant Atkins sent the penalty the other way for Ashton Sims’ involvement as third man in.

It infuriated Thurston, but he said he would not change his stance on staying down after an illegal tackle.

“I don’t lay down,” he said.

“From what you’ve seen, he got me fair across the head there with a swinging arm.

“If I lay down and stay down, what are they going to do?”

North Queensland coach Paul Green backed Thurston’s stance.

“We don’t do that as a team,” he said.

It wasn’t the only contentious call of the night, with Thurston kicking what appeared to be a valid 40/20 only for the touch judge to rule it had crossed just in front of the 20m line.

The referees opted not to review it by video.

“I was asking him (the referee) to go upstairs but as usual he didn’t respond to me,” Thurston said.

“I was a little bit perplexed by a few decisions,” Green said.

“The 40/20, the Sam Burgess knock on at the end there, and I thought the interpretation of the ruck, we couldn’t seem to generate much ruck speed at all.

“They (Souths) definitely seemed to get away with a little bit more than us.”