Winterstein in mix
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.