Cowboys fined $25,000 for 14th man

North Queensland have been fined $25,000 by the NRL for breaching the interchange rules against Canberra on Saturday night.

The Cowboys had 14 players on the field for about 20 seconds during the 60th minute of the match when David Faiumu came on to replace Justin Smith. NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley says the Cowboys were lucky to escape losing competition points and several factors were in their favour.

They included being in possession of the ball at the time and the fact that neither player was involved in the play. NRL investigators found the match interchange official believed the Cowboys had only 12 players on the field at the time of accepting the card for Faiumu to go on.