Coach Paul Green says the his North Queensland side have nothing but respect for Sydney Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello.
North Queensland coach Paul Green insists he and his club have nothing but respect for Sydney Roosters and their skipper Anthony Minichiello.
On Thursday morning Roosters coach Trent Robinson expressed his outrage at a picture on the front page of the Townsville Bulletin newspaper that depicted Minichiello as a chicken, claiming it was disrespectful.
His comments have cranked up tensions between the two clubs ahead of Friday’s NRL semi-final clash at Allianz Stadium.
But Green, who was part of Robinson’s backroom team last year, distanced himself from the picture after landing at Sydney airport on Thursday afternoon.
“Myself and all the players have nothing but respect for ‘Mini’”, Green said.
“I actually played with him years and years ago, he is a mate of mine. What the Bulletin has done we have no control of, it’s a paper.
“All I can say is that we fully respect him and what he has done in his career.”
Robinson also claimed Green’s critical comments about the NRL judiciary following Tariq Sims’ five-match suspension, which cost him a $10,000 fine, were merely designed to create a siege mentality.
The Cowboys still feel a sense of injustice after refereeing errors in 2012 and 2013 damaged their chances of victory in finals clashes against Manly and Cronulla and players have spoke this year of banishing those memories.
However, Green said he’d been too focused on plotting a way to beat the premiers to be concerned about mind games and refused to discuss the fall-out from his judiciary comments.
“It’s too much for me to think about,” he said.
“I have put the Tariq Sims thing behind me and I am just looking forward to the game.
“These are big games and if you need that stuff to fire you up then you are probably in trouble.”
Green also played down the significance of his connection with the Roosters and said the fact his side won their last meeting in Townsville 42-10 in May was irrelevant.
“I said from day one of this week I wasn’t going to talk about the Roosters last year and my involvement,” he said.
“We are playing against them tomorrow night and that is all we’re focused on.
“We’re still playing at this time of year and a lot of teams aren’t and that is all we’re worried about.”