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

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Cowboys coach Todd Payten is lamenting the many stoppages the Bulldogs forced through head injury assessments and has raised the possibility of Canterbury being “deliberate” in a bid to stall North Queensland’s momentum.

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

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

“No doubt.

“Whether that was deliberate on a couple of occasions, I’m unsure.

“But the game stopped when we had momentum more than a couple of times.”

Stream the NRL premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.

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

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

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

Veteran recruit Chad Townsend played his first NRL game with the Cowboys in round one, teaming up with young five-eighth Tom Dearden in the halves.

“I thought our chat and communication was great. It’s been great all pre-season,” Townsend said.

“I feel really comfortable playing with Tom. I thought he was great tonight … We’ve played a game and a half together. We’ve done a lot of training together, but can prepare you for what a game throws at you.”

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