Rugby league fable Wally Lewis says helium was near "completely confused" by Cowboys manager Todd Payten's handling of former Dally M Medallist Jason Taumalolo.
Payten created headlines early connected successful the play erstwhile helium made a concerted effort to bounds the 28-year-old's minutes, saying the nine wanted to beryllium "mindful of his assemblage and enactment rate".
After a frustrating play which saw the Cowboys decorativeness second-last connected the ladder with conscionable 7 wins, Lewis questioned the merits of limiting the side's champion player, earlier moving him retired of his preferred fastener presumption to the backrow edge.
"I truly couldn't spot wherefore helium (Payten) shifted Taumalolo. I was wholly confused by that," helium told Wide World of Sports.
"Even successful the hard times astatine the Broncos, Darren Lockyer wasn't moved, Allan Langer wasn't shifted.
"You physique the basal of a squad astir your champion performers, and I thought that should person been however North Queensland presented their season.
"It was precise hard to understand. Perhaps I wasn't adjacent capable to it and couldn't spot a fig of different players couldn't beryllium placed successful those positions.
"To spot him successful that presumption near maine a spot confused, I've got to say."
Lewis' constituent was echoed by Broncos large Sam Thaiday, who implored the Cowboys to physique their squad astir Taumalolo adjacent season.
"I'm unsure however agelong Taumalolo's declaration is near astatine the Cowboys, but that shouldn't bespeak connected however they play him now," helium told Wide World of Sports.
"I deliberation they should play him this play and get the champion retired of him this season. Next play is not promised and the play aft that is not promised.
"You physique your squad astir your champion players, and I deliberation Taumalolo successful that 13 presumption is astatine his best, playing disconnected the backmost of speedy play-the-balls, wrecking and rampaging done the middle.
"We touched connected David Fifita and I said I'd emotion to spot Fifita play successful that fastener relation and person escaped rein… I'd emotion to spot Taumalolo person escaped rein connected the tract arsenic well."