22 Jun 2011

NSW throw support behind suspended Queensland Star

12:15 pm on 22 June 2011

In a rare show of solidarity key NSW and Queensland rugby league figures have backed Johnathan Thurston to avoid suspension and take his part in the deciding State of Origin match at Suncorp Stadium next month.

The Queensland skipper Darren Lockyer on Monday described the incident in which the Cowboys half made contact with referee Matt Cecchin as a regular occurrence while the retiring playmaker's thoughts were echoed by opposition sources - Blues assistant coach Trent Barrett and star back Jarryd Hayne.

Thurston will fight for his place in the July the 6th Origin decider when he fronts the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night to answer a grade two contrary conduct charge.

He'll firstly plead not guilty and if that fails an argument will be mounted to have the charge downgraded - a one week suspension enough to see him pulling on a maroon jumper in a fortnight's time.

While comfortable the Maroons had a "pretty good replacement" in Cooper Cronk, Lockyer says he'd love to have Thurston by his side for what will be the veteran's 36th and final appearance for Queensland.

Barrett says the Blues would rather beat Queensland at full strength than rely on a helping hand from the judiciary and conceded Thurston should be playing anyway.

Barrett says a downgraded charge with a one week suspension should be the most punishment Thurston receives while Hayne suggested he should walk.