Cooper, Win­ter­stein out

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON michael. thomp­son@ news. com. au

COW­BOYS pair Gavin Cooper and An­to­nio Win­ter­stein are ex­pected to miss at least two games fol­low­ing Fri­day night’s hor­ror show of f in­juries.

Cooper ( calf) and Win­ter- stein ( ham­string) have been ruled out of this week­end’s cru­cial away game against Pen­rith and are al­most cer­tain to miss the fol­low­ing home game against pre­miers Cronulla, says Cow­boys coach Paul Green.

The news is bet­ter for fiveeighth Te Maire Martin ( pic­tured) who has been named to play de­spite suf­fer­ing a knock to the knee in Fri­day’s loss to the Storm.

Michael Mor­gan has as­sumed the cap­taincy reins as a re­sult of Cooper’s in­jury, his first stint as NRL cap­tain and a pos­si­ble glimpse of Mor­gan’s fu­ture lead­er­ship role.

“Best case sce­nario is a cou­ple of weeks,” Green said of Cooper and Win­ter­stein.

“We’ll see how the next cou­ple of weeks pan out, but hope­fully it won’t be too long.”

Green said Cooper’s in­jury was sim­i­lar to the calf in­jury suf­fered by Johnathan Thurston ear­lier in the year.

“It was the same sort of ac­tion in do­ing it, re­treat­ing and then go­ing to take off the line,” he said.

“He ( Cooper) felt it pop, so it’s un­for­tu­nate for us given the tim­ing of it, but Coops will be do­ing every­thing he can to get back on the pad­dock and fingers crossed it will only be a cou­ple of weeks.”

Coen Hess has b been named d to re­place Cooper in the se­cond row and Javid Bowen will take Win­ter­stein’s place on the wing, while Ben Hamp­ton comes back to the in­ter­change af­ter play­ing for feeder team the North­ern Pride last week­end.

The Cow­boys can all but se­cure their place in the up­com­ing fi­nals with a win at Pen­rith’s Pep­per Sta­dium, and es­tab­lished names such as Mor­gan and Scott Bolton will be ex­pected to lift in the wake of North Queens­land’s lat­est in­jury cri­sis.

Green is con­fi­dent Mor­gan is ready for the cap­taincy, say­ing the fact Mor­gan is an 80 minute player was a fac­tor in him as­sum­ing the cap­taincy over Bolton.

“He’s had added re­spon­si­bil­ity since Johnno’s been out and this is a nat­u­ral step in his devel­op­ment,” he said.

“There’s other guys out there too who are part of the lead­er­ship group that will cer­tainly help.

“It will be a team ef­fort, but it will be good for Morgo.”

The Cow­boys squad has been given ex­tended rest courtesy of the eight- day turn­around, and Green be­lieves his team’s morale has re­mained intact ahead of the de­mand­ing road home to fi­nals.

BLOW: Act­ing Cow­boys cap­tain Gavin Cooper has been ruled out for two weeks. Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

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