North Queensland have slammed the ARL Commission after their plea to lift a rugby league ban on Cowboys playmaker Robert Lui was rejected on Thursday.
Two weeks after stating Lui's case in Sydney, the Cowboys were left reeling after the ARLC opted to keep the halfback sidelined.
"We are very disappointed with the decision the commission has made today," Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain said in a statement.
"The psychologist who has been working with Robert for many months is of the very firm view that Robert is now at the point where playing football is a very important part of his rehabilitation.
"We don't comprehend why or on what grounds the commission has rejected this view."
Lui was banned after being placed on a two-year good behaviour bond and fined $A2000 in April for assaulting his girlfriend Taleah Backo following the Wests Tigers' Mad Monday drinks last year.
The pair - who have a young son - have since reunited and Backo has thrown her weight behind an NRL return for Lui.
Jourdain believed they had made a compelling argument to ARLC interim boss Shane Mattiske at the July 26 argument for Lui to return to at least Townsville club football this year.
Lui had received glowing praise for his volunteer work at prisons in north Queensland and the Cowboys had hoped a psychologist's report would help seal his return.
The Cowboys play the Warriors in Townsville on Saturday.