Hoare’s prime- time audition to cement spot in NRL
THE stage is set for Cowboys forward Sam Hoare to make the biggest on- field impact of his NRL career.
Hoare ( right) is expected to play extended minutes against the Dragons in Wollongong tonight and get in the face of their international halves pairing Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop.
Cowboys coach Paul Green played Hoare in the Intrust Super Cup over the last fortnight for the express purpose of having him ready for tonight’s challenge, which will see him fill the giant shoes of NSW prop James Tamou.
Hoare has already proven he can deliver as a run- on forward, having chalked up almost 100m in his debut starting appearance against the Tigers – which the Cowboys won 8- 0 without their Origin stars.
He will again start alongside Ben Hannant, who joined forces with Hoare in the starting front- row of that game as cover for Tamou and Queensland battering ram Matt Scott.
“Having that experience against the Tigers and knowing to expect that intensity from the word go ... that will put me in a better position this week to hopefully bring another good performance,” Hoare said.
“I think against the Tigers I got about 20 to 22 minutes out, so if I can punch out something similar to that, then I’ll be pretty happy.
“( For St George) to keep their halves is a huge advantage for them … and I think their fullback is really underrated because they don’t have their rep stars I suppose. “But they’re a really gritty team and they’ll fight for every yard.”
Hoare has provided a bedrock for Mackay in the ISC, and won a premiership with the Cutters in 2013, alongside a host of current Cowboys stars.
He got through more than 60 minutes in Mackay’s clash with Wynnum Manly last weekend, reinforcing his status as one of the ISC’s best forwards.
But with 11 first- grade games now under his belt, Hoare is tonight aiming to cement his spot in Green’s 17.
“All I’ve got to worry about is my role within the team, and if I do that well, then I’ll give myself every chance of retaining a spot in the 17,” he said.
“It was good to get through a pretty big workload last week.”