Lui steps up to face Dragons
COWBOYS coach Paul Green hopes halfback Robert Lui is excited to prove what he can do after earning a recall from the first- grade wilderness.
Lui was yesterday handed his first NRL start since round two and is set to partner Ray Thompson in North Queensland’s halves against St George- Illawarra on Saturday.
Rory Kostjasyn has performed well at five- eighth in recent weeks but will return to the back- up hooker role while Lui and Thompson renew a pairing that dates back to their days running around in the Townsville and District Junior Rugby League competition.
Lui has played in the Intrust Super Cup- leading Townsville Blackhawks team since round three and missed a chance to re- establish himself at halfback with a hamstring strain.
The 25- year- old is off- contract at the end of the year and Green hopes Lui will show everyone the skills he undoubtedly possesses against the Dragons.
“There’s plenty to gain for him personally, playing well for us on the weekend,” Green said.
“That’s what we need him to do and I hope he does that.”
Lui is one of a number of Cowboys changes due to State of Origin commitments while Thompson, Scott Bolton and Sam Hoare have all earned first- grade returns.
This will be Thompson’s first game since fracturing a bone in his face against Parramatta in round 13, while Bolton has also recovered quickly from surgery to his hand.
Bolton made his return to action with the Northern Pride and made some strong carries and defended well.
“They didn’t have to do a hell of a lot of defence but he was very good by all reports so again it’s a bit of a boost getting him back earlier,” Green said.
Hoare will start at prop after a few weeks back with the Mackay Cutters, with Green revealing the switch was designed to give him the match fitness to be ready to play a majority Dragons.
“The plan was to put him back there and then he played 60- 65 minutes back there for Mackay and was players’ player,” Green said.
“The plan was for him to get a bit more footy time so he’s in better nick for this week.”
Patrick Kaufusi retains his spot on the bench while Glenn Hall and Ben Spina are both listed to travel to Wollongong.
Meanwhile, Cowboys under- 20s Gideon Mosby, Conor Carey and Coen Hess have all been selected in Queensland’s under- 20 Maroons team to play New South Wales in the curtain raiser to next week’s State of Origin.
Andrew Niemoeller is 18th man.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Robert Lui ( right) will start for the Cowboys against St George- Illawarra on Saturday.