The Courier-Mail

Morgan in fitness fight for the right

- CHRIS GARRY

MICHAEL Morgan has another battle to overcome to return for the Cowboys with Paul Green stating he must train with the team through the week in order to play.

Green was hopeful Morgan would play against the Broncos but said they have a guaranteed second chance in the finals so if the five-eighth couldn’t join the team in the week, he wouldn’t be risked.

Add to that a much improved performanc­e from stand-in pivot Ray Thompson and suddenly Morgan’s return is not assured.

The Cowboys need Morgan to win the premiershi­p, but they don’t need him in this week’s blockbuste­r against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

Green said Morgan had done “a little running” after his right ankle was crushed awkwardly in Round 24, but he was not fully fit.

Morgan will likely have to play with a needle and be unable to kick if he does return against Brisbane.

“I have been saying my prayers and rubbing my rosary beads,” Green said.

“We are guaranteed, win, lose or draw, to have a second week in the finals. We won’t take any unnecessar­y risks.

“It is tough because we still don’t know when we are playing so it is hard to get too specific about itinerarie­s.

“We will give him every chance to be fit but we need to prepare well as a team and he plays a key role in that.

“If he can’t do much training prep then we have to seriously look at whether it is worth including him.”

Thompson was much improved against the Titan on his middling performanc­e against Melbourne.

“He looked more comfortabl­e. His attack was better than last week and that’s an area of our game that last week was a little off,” Green said.

The Cowboys will have the services of fullback Lachlan Coote, who will not have a case to answer for over an alleged punch on Titan Ryan James.

James stayed down after a tussle with Coote at the end of the first half but replays show Coote hit him in the face with an open palm despite Titans coach Neil Henry convinced Coote punched his player.

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