UP AND RUN­NING

SCOTT IMPRESSING IN HIS RE­COV­ERY

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLATTER trent. slatter@ news. com. au

IN­JURED Cowboys co- cap­tain Matt Scott is back run­ning at train­ing, but he doesn’t ex­pect to walk straight into his start­ing role when he re­turns to the field next sea­son.

The Cowboys for­ward stocks have been stretched since he rup­tured his ACL, but with Scott Bolton in ca­reer- best form and Storm en­forcer Jor­dan McLean set to join the club in 2018, Scott has plenty to look for­ward to.

IN­JURED Cowboys co- cap­tain Matt Scott is back run­ning at train­ing, but he doesn’t ex­pect to walk straight into his start­ing role when he re­turns to the field next sea­son.

North Queens­land’s for­ward stocks have been stretched thin since Scott rup­tured his ACL just two games into the sea­son, with his re­place­ment Pa­trick Kau­fusi ( foot) also ruled out just a few weeks later.

But it could be a case of short- term pain for long- term gain for the Cowboys, with Scott Bolton in ca­reer- best form in Scott’s ab­sence and Storm en­forcer Jor­dan McLean set to join the club in 2018.

Add the likes of Dally M win­ner Ja­son Tau­malolo and young guns Corey Jensen and Coen Hess into the mix and Scott said it was an ex­cit­ing time for the club’s mid­dle for­wards.

“I might strug­gle to get my start­ing spot back,” the veteran prop joked.

“I think ‘ Bolts’ has been one of the best play­ers all year for us, if not one of the form front- row­ers in the com­pe­ti­tion, and Jor­dan McLean is a great ad­di­tion.

“I think with how well the side’s go­ing this year, then you look at ‘ JT’ ( Johnathan Thurston) and my­self to come back in the side and a cou­ple of other guys on deck, it’s ex­cit­ing times for next year.”

Scott ran for the first time last month and hopes to be back into full train­ing af­ter the Christ­mas break as he tar­gets next year’s sea­son opener for his NRL re­turn.

The 31- year- old ad­mit­ted his re­cov­ery was a slow and frus­trat­ing process at times, but Scott said he was happy to take his time to en­sure he comes back as strong as ever.

“This re­cov­ery is pretty long so every mile­stone you hit is a pretty good feel­ing. Ob­vi­ously run­ning is a big part of the re­cov­ery process so it’s good to be back,” Scott said.

“I’m def­i­nitely on track, but it’s not the sort of thing you can be ahead of. The med­i­cal staff are pretty care­ful at keep­ing the reins on and mak­ing sure we don’t get too ahead of our­selves.

“I’ve had a few trips away which has been good to break the re­cov­ery process up. It mixes it up a lit­tle bit, but it is just a bit of a process you’ve got to go through.”

Scott isn’t alone in North Queens­land’s re­hab group with hooker Josh Chudleigh and out­side back Shaun Hud­son also re­cov­er­ing from se­ri­ous knee in­juries.

Hud­son rup­tured his ACL while scor­ing a try for the Cowboys at this year’s Auck­land Nines which shat­tered the 22- year- old’s hopes of mak­ing his NRL de­but this sea­son.

The Gold Coast prod­uct ad­mit­ted it was a bit­ter pill to swal­low so early in his Cowboys ca­reer, but he said train­ing along­side his co- cap­tain Scott was help­ing to keep him mo­ti­vated.

“It helps men­tally and phys­i­cally be­ing with ‘ Thumper’. I think he’s only a week be­hind me so we’ve been train­ing a fair bit to­gether,” Hud­son said. “You can see what sort of weight he lifts in the gym which mo­ti­vates me. It’s been re­ally good.”

Pic­ture: FIONA HARD­ING

HELP­ING HAND: In­jured Cowboys play­ers Shaun Hud­son and Matt Scott train­ing at the club’s Kir­wan base.

Pic­ture: FIONA HARD­ING

GREAT SIGHT: In­jured prop Matt Scott is back run­ning.

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