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Cowboys back under fire NRL star McGuire

North Queensland have defended Maroons enforcer Josh McGuire, claiming their polarising NRL prop doesn't need to change his approach to the game.

McGuire was suspended for a high tackle on NSW star James Maloney in State of Origin II and then came under fire for sledging Blake Ferguson at halftime in Wednesday's decider.

The Cowboys forward has been charged by the NRL match review committee three times this season, escaping with fines for eye-gouging and another incident involving contact with an opponent's face.

But North Queensland assistant coach Josh Hannay said McGuire need make no excuses for his style and backed him to fire against the Sydney Roosters on Sunday.

"Josh is Josh, we all know the character he is so he's probably an easy target," Hannay said.

"I think he knows he's going to get some stick for the way he plays the game, he plays tough and is very up front and honest about who he is and the way he plays the game.

"I don't think he'll ever shy away from who that player is and we don't want him to," he said.

"He's as tough a player there is in the game and an extremely good competitor. I just think sometimes he's an easy target for the press.

"I don't think that will affect him. He's a strong character and I think he'll front up on Sunday really motivated to play well for us.

"Josh played a torrid game in the middle there on Wednesday night. But he's a guy that has always prided himself on backing up from Origin."

The Cowboys are without Michael Morgan after the Maroons utility copped his second head knock - ironically through a collision with McGuire - in as many games on Wednesday.

Hannay said the North Queensland skipper pulled up well on Thursday but emphasised the club wouldn't be taking any risks on his health moving forward.

"As far as I know he's in really good spirits. The feedback is he woke up feeling really well but obviously we'll take every precaution there," he said.

"He's had a couple of bad head knocks there in back-to-back games so we'll do everything we can to make sure he ticks all the boxes before he gets on the field again."

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