Hoare’s prime- time au­di­tion to ce­ment spot in NRL

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON

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.”

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