Headaches nursed by Watts, Cowboys coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Headaches nursed by Watts, Cowboys coach

By Laine Clark 21/07/2009 09:01:48 AM Comments (0)

A headache worse than the one a "battered and bruised" Anthony Watts was clearly nursing on Monday faces North Queensland coach Neil Henry, even if his club successfully emerges from the NRL judiciary this week.

Cowboys rake Watts has been charged with grade two striking after his running battle with Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah in North Queensland's loss on Sunday.

He will miss one game with an early plea but a guilty verdict at the judiciary would out him for two.

Cowboys football manager Dean Lance said the club would decide on Tuesday whether to fight the charge.

However, even if Watts is cleared, the hooker may battle to be fit for North Queensland's Saturday night clash with Penrith after emerging worse for wear from his feud with Farah that earned the Wests Tigers skipper a lesser striking charge.

Lance said Watts had not pulled up well on Monday, with one eye completely closed.

Losing Watts either to the judiciary or injury would be a nightmare for Henry who is already without No.1 hooker and vice-captain Aaron Payne (pectoral) and his understudy Clint Amos (knee) for the season.

Watts earned the ire of Farah - and the match review committee - in his first full game replacing Payne who'd been told he would miss the rest of 2009 after going down in his milestone 150th game for the Cowboys.

"It's an important position, certainly with two already down," Lance said of their hooker crisis.

"That was the first game he (Watts) had started at hooker and we thought he had done really well so it's disappointing.

"It is going to make it tough (if they are without Watts).

"But we will get on and do the work we have to do and see what we will do at the judiciary."

Lance would not comment on whether Watts would be fit for the Panthers clash if he beat his striking charge, saying they were still concentrating on the judiciary matter.

But clearly Watts was battling.

"He's bruised and battered, one eye is closed," Lance said.

"He's what you expect he would look like after something like that."

Lance also would not be drawn on what he thought of Farah earning a lesser striking charge.

"That's the grading he has been given, that was for the match review committee to decide," he said.

"But we will decide tomorrow on what we will do (with Watts). We are working on it as we speak."

Farah was charged with grade one striking for punching Watts at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

The Cowboys hooker punched Farah in a 24th minute scrum before the Wests Tigers skipper launched a retaliatory strike in the next scrum two minutes later.

But an early guilty plea will clear Farah to play against Canberra on Sunday.

He will miss one game should he contest the charge and fail.

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