The Courier-Mail

Hungry Cowboys prop puts painful neck on the line


THE Cowboys will call in a neck specialist to assess Matt Scott as the inspiratio­nal prop puts aside pain to chase the grand final dream that has eluded him for a decade. The injury scares suffered last week by Cowboys Michael Morgan (ankle) and James Tamou (neck) have diverted attention from Scott’s agonis- ing daily battle. Scott (pictured) is almost certain to have surgery after the season.

The challenge for Cowboys medical staff is ensuring he does not break down with a title on the horizon.

Scott is battling degenerati­ve discs in his back and neck, and the neck injury has reached a point where the club will summon experts to safeguard his welfare for the finals.

The prop is experienci­ng similar nerve trauma to that of Tamou, who had bone shaved from his neck area last year to ease the shooting pains that were threatenin­g his career.

Cowboys high-performanc­e chief Paul Bowman said the club was doing everything possible to manage Scott.

“It’s getting gradually worse,” Bowman said.

“We’re getting to the stage where we need some expert doctors to look at his neck. We’ll try and get him through and assess him post-season.

“He’s got a similar problem to what Jimmy Tamou had, so surgery is looking likely. We’ll cross that bridge (surgery) at the end of the year, but it’s been ongoing with Matt for a few years now.”

Scott’s motivation to play through the pain is personal.

While co-skipper Johnathan Thurston featured in North Queensland’s only previous grand final in 2005, Scott was agonisingl­y overlooked.

In his second season of NRL at the time, the then 20-yearold was 18th man in the decider as Wests Tigers shattered the Cowboys’ premiershi­p dream.

“It would mean everything for me to get to a grand final,” he said.

“I was 18th man for that grand final, so while I got to experience it, I didn’t get to play.

“That has made me pretty hungry to play in a grand final.

“It has been 10 years since I got a sniff and that just shows how hard it is in this competitio­n to get back there.

“I remember the buzz in 2005 and I don’t want to miss that again.”

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