MO­MENT OF TRUTH

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUXWORTH

HAD fate taken a dif­fer­ent path Cow­boys prop Braden Uele could be mak­ing his de­but for the Sydney Roost­ers, not against them.

But tonight’s clash is an ideal chance for the off- con­tract for­mer Ju­nior Kiwi to prove he de­serves a new deal when he steps into the big time at Al­lianz Sta­dium.

The 22- year- old will re­place Shaun Fen­som on the bench af­ter the Raiders re­cruit failed to over­come a rib car­ti­lage in­jury suf­fered in last week’s win over the War­riors.

Uele, a 112kg wreck­ing ball, is the fourth player Cow­boys coach Paul Green has handed an NRL de­but to this year af­ter fel­low prop Corey Jensen, winger Gideon Gela- Mosby and half Kyle Lay­butt.

Jensen has been re­warded for his strong form with a new two- year con­tract, and Uele now has a chance to prove his worth af­ter a more con­sis­tent year with Queens­land Cup side Mackay Cut­ters.

Uele played un­der- 20s at the Roost­ers un­der Green, learn­ing from star props Jared Waerea- Har­g­reaves and Dy­lan Napa. He now has a chance to use those tips against his for­mer men­tors af­ter in­juries to Matt Scott and Pat Kau­fusi drained the Cow­boys’ front- row stocks.

“One of the chal­lenges for him this year was to be con­sis­tent back in the In­trust Su­per Cup and I think he’s prob­a­bly done that, he de­serves his chance,” Green said.

“( When in­juries strike) you’ve got no choice ( but to blood young­sters), they’ve got to make the most of it.

“The guys we have used who have de­buted so far have done a great job for us, and helped put us in the po­si­tion we’re in.

“One of the most re­ward­ing parts of my job is when you give a guy his de­but, it’s a huge step in any­one’s ca­reer.”

The Cow­boys have won their past four matches since Johnathan Thurston was ruled out for the year with a shoul­der in­jury, but all have been against teams out­side the top eight.

Al­though the sec­ond- placed Roost­ers will be with­out co- cap­tains Jake Friend and Boyd Cord­ner, it’s a match which be­gins a gru­elling month for the Cow­boys.

Af­ter tonight’s clash they host lad­der lead­ers Mel­bourne, travel to a resur­gent Pen­rith be­fore tak­ing on de­fend­ing pre­miers Cronulla at home.

Green said Fen­som could have played at pinch, but didn’t want to risk him suf­fer­ing fur­ther dam­age with Septem­ber loom­ing.

Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

BIG BOP­PER: Cow­boys for­ward Braden Uele will make his de­but for North Queens­land against the Roost­ers in Sydney tonight.

Jared Waerea- Har­g­reaves ( Roost­ers)

Vic­tor Radley ( Roost­ers)

Five- eighth: Luke Keary ( Roost­ers)

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