Win­ter­stein in mix

Townsville Bulletin - - NRL - by Michael Thompson michael. thompson@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

ASH­LEY Graham and Kal­ifa Fai Fai Loa are in red-hot form, and they’ll need to stay that way.

Cow­boys coach Neil Henry yes­ter­day an­nounced an un­changed line-up to the one that thrashed Mel b o u r n e o n Mon­day, b u t An­to­nio Win­ter­stein is wait­ing in the wings.

With t he f o r mer Bri s b a ne Bronco’s re­cov­ery from a bro­ken jaw al­most com­plete Henry re­vealed Win­ter­stein was now just wait­ing for a tick of ap­proval from med­i­cal staff to re­sume con­tact train­ing.

He said it was even pos­si­ble that Win­ter­stein could play against t h e P a r r a m a t t a E e l s a t Par­ra­matta Sta­dium on Satur­day night.

‘‘ We won’t know un­til later in the week whether he’s avail­able for se­lec­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘ He’s been train­ing with the team for the last week but he hasn’t done any con­tact, we want to leave it as late as pos­si­ble be­fore he does some tack­ling.

‘‘ The sur­geon’s very happy with it ( the jaw) and our doc­tor is very happy with how it’s pro­gressed but we’ll leave it un­til later in the week.’’

A short five-day turn­around, how­ever, means it’s un­likely Win­ter­stein will make an early re­turn to ac­tion.

In­n­is­fail ju­nior Scott Bolton, who is in the Cow­boys in­jury ward with Win­ter­stein and Brent Tate, was also not among yes­ter­day’s line-up as he con­tin­ues his come­back from a calf mus­cle tear.

Gavin Cooper ( split chin) and Aaron Payne ( back) were the only play­ers to pick up nig­gling in­jur- ies dur­ing the Storm game, but apart from that it’s an un­scathed Cow­boys squad which will travel to Par­ra­matta this week­end.

‘‘ We’d like to back up a good per­for­mance with an­other good per­for­mance – we haven’t done that yet,’’ Henry said.

‘‘ The Bull­dogs are the only team that’s been able to string to­gether three con­sis­tent per­for­mances.

‘‘ We cer­tainly didn’t back up our first-round per­for­mance with the game against the Knights, but that’s gone now.’’

Henry added that the Eels would be des­per­ate for a win at home and was pre­par­ing his playe r s a c c o r d i n g l y , a l t h o u g h Par­ra­matta have al­ready suf­fered a set­back with en­forcer Fui­fui Moimoi sus­pended for one game due to a high tackle on South Syd­ney’s Ben Ross.

Cow­boys for­ward Glenn Hall was also charged with a high tackle by the NRL ju­di­ciary af­ter Mon­day’s game and pleaded guilty, but he won’t miss a game.

Things look bright for the Cow­boys head­ing into round four but Henry said his team was aware o f t he b a t t e r y o f a t t a c ki ng weapons avail­able to his Eels coun­ter­part Stephen Kear­ney.

‘‘ I thought we had ter­ri­to­rial ad­van­tage over Mel­bourne for large parts of the game which mounted a fair bit of pres­sure . . . we’ll need to do it par­tic­u­larly against a side with Jar­ryd Hayne at the back,’’ he said.

‘‘ There’s quite a few dan­gers in their side and we’ll need to back up the per­for­mance.’’

In fur­ther game news, for­mer Cow­boys for­ward Carl Webb was yes­ter­day named on Par­ra­matta’s bench along with Townsville prod­uct An­thony Mitchell.

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