Fears mount for Brent Tate's latest knee injury
CHRIS BARRETT AND MICHAEL CARAYANNIS
Queensland skipper Cameron Smith has labelled the Maroons as arguably the "greatest rugby league side in history" and has called on the Queensland selectors to stick solid despite their record run ending on Wednesday night.
Smith and Maroons coach Mal Meninga were gracious in defeat with Smith glowing in his endorsement of his teammates, as fears grow over the immediate playing future of veteran winger Brent Tate.
Tate, 32, hobbled off with a knee injury after he twisted awkwardly in a tackle midway through the second half. The North Queensland back has previously had three knee reconstructions in his injury-riddled career and only last month signed a 12-month extension to keep him at the Cowboys until the end of next season.
"We fear the worst for him," said Meninga. "Such a courageous player and [he] was playing fantastically well."
"He is a tremendous man. Let's hope we see him again."
Queensland doctor Roy Saunders said that Tate will have scans to determine the damage to his knee.
"We're concerned that he's torn his anterior cruciate ligament," Saunders said. "He'll have scans in the near future to decide how much damage he's done and what happens after that. It's totally up to the Cowboys medical staff and Brent what happens.
"He was concerned straight away that he'd done some damage to his cruciate ligament. He didn't want to walk off, he didn't want to get the medicab. He was in a lot of pain."
His Maroon teammates expressed concern after the game.
"It's not looking flash at all for him [Tate]," said Johnathan Thurston. "He's been a great player, a great mate, he's just a top bloke. We won't know more until he gets scans but it doesn't look good."
"He's pretty distraught," said Ben Te'o. "He's been through a lot of adversity, Tatey, and he's always come through. He's a big part of this culture and to see him, how he's feeling now, puts everything in perspective."
Meanwhile, Smith said that the Maroons should not panic after the series loss.
"We've done something very special over the last eight years," Smith said. "I'm sure this is the greatest Queensland side if not the greatest rugby league side ever
"To lose a series in the last nine years and to want to break up the side is outrageous.
"It's silly. We still believe we have a great footy side. The two games have been decided by four and two points. It's that close. I don't feel any need to change the team."
The Maroons were left seething over a host of referee decisions including the no try decision against forward Sam Thaiday and the apparent touch of the ball to Aaron Woods' jersey following a Cameron Smith restart. The match officials deemed the ball did not touch Woods, instead travelling dead on the full to allow the Blues a penalty on halfway.
Thaiday was deemed to have lost the ball over the try-line despite attention from Blues fullback Jarryd Hayne, whose hand helped the ball come loose before Thaiday regathered.
"I thought Sam's try was a try," Meninga said. "It was stripped and then he regathered, he didn't knock the ball on. It was a strip. Aaron Woods did touch the football. We live and breathe by those decisions every week. I'm not going to offer any excuses.
"We are not wallowing in self pity if that's what you want. I'm so proud of these players. What they've achieved over the years has been fantastic and will probably never be repeated again. It wasn't our night. We had opportunities."
The Maroons also lost prop Matt Scott with a suspected fractured jaw.
"We're concerned that he's got damage to his cheekbone and may well have a fracture in there and he will also have imaging tomorrow," said Saunders.
Despite the loss, Meninga backed the call to select Daly Cherry-Evans after the halfback had battled an ongoing knee problem in the lead up to the game.
"He worked hard on his injury all week," Meninga said. "It was fairly calm in the camp. Daly trained last night and trained really well.
"He is one of the premier players in our competition and I thought he handled himself well tonight. He is going to get better, not worse as a player and as an individual."
- Sydney Morning Herald
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