Townsville Bulletin - - GO COWBOYS - LIAM BUT­TER­WORTH

ROBERT Lui is nowhere near be­ing a spent force in the NRL just yet.

The 25- year- old has played in four matches for the Cowboys this year, and two since the first two rounds, but showed with his con­trolled per­for­mance in the Round 17 win over St Ge­orge Illawarra that he can still guide the team around.

The rise of Michael Mor­gan and the use of util­i­ties Rory Kost­jasyn and Ray Thompson in the halves in 2015 has left the of­f­con­tract Cow­boy seem­ing likely to de­part his home­town club at the end of the sea­son.

But af­ter that away per­for­mance against the Dragons, Cowboys as­sis­tant coach John Cartwright said he did not think Lui was past it when it came to be­ing a shot of stay­ing in the NRL.

“I thought he re­ally got bet­ter as the game went on and in the sec­ond half I thought he re­ally chal­lenged the line on oc­ca­sions and de­fen­sively, that was a key area for him to shore up our de­fence,” he said.

“He did that very well and I thought we lim­ited their op­por­tu­ni­ties and kept them to 12 points.

“Rob­bie had a bit of a slow start to the year and then he had the ham­string in­jury, but to come into the side and I thought he got bet­ter as the game wore on.

“With all his ex­pe­ri­ence, he’s played in some big games and it’s a funny old game.

“You don’t know where you’ll be in a week’s time, let alone six months time.

“He’s ap­proach­ing it very well and it’s a tough po­si­tion to be in but I think he re­alises he needs to be play­ing well whether it be at the Black­hawks or with the Cowboys.”

Lui per­formed with good friend Ray Thompson in the halves against the Dragons at WIN Sta­dium and the pair earned praise for fill­ing in ad­mirably while Mor­gan and co- cap­tain Johnathan Thurston were away on State of Ori­gin du­ties.

“They stepped up and did a mas­sive job com­plet­ing our sets and con­trol­ling the game pretty much,” full­back Lach­lan Coote said.

Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

Robert Lui trains at 1300SMILES Sta­dium.

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