Lui steps up to face Dragons

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - LIAM BUT­TER­WORTH liam. but­ter­worth@ news. com. au

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.

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Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Robert Lui ( right) will start for the Cowboys against St Ge­orge- Illawarra on Satur­day.

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