The Courier-Mail

INJURIES CRUEL CHANCES JT unlikely to get kick out of final

- CHRIS GARRY

NORTH Queensland’s injury drama has intensifie­d, with four star players battling fitness concerns ahead of Saturday’s blockbuste­r against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

Just when they thought their wretched run of awful finals luck had ended, the Cowboys are confrontin­g a series of cruel blows.

Five-eighth Michael Morgan was named to play yesterday but he limped during training, his first proper run since injuring his ankle against the Warriors in Round 24.

Coach Paul Green will take Ray Thompson to Brisbane as cover for Morgan who will need to be 100 per cent fit to take the field as the Cowboys have a guaranteed second week of finals football.

There are also concerns about Johnathan Thurston’s groin injury restrictin­g his ability to kick the football.

Morgan’s injury will also curtail his ability to kick the football, meaning fullback Lachlan Coote and hooker Jake Granville will have to take greater responsibi­lity on the fifth tackle.

Prop Matt Scott did not train yesterday because of problems with his lower back, neck and a corked thigh, while Coote also spent the session on the sidelines after pulling up sore following Saturday’s victory over Gold Coast.

Green said even though he named Morgan, he was not sure if the pivot would play.

JOHNATHAN THURSTON

“He (Morgan) still has to finish the rest of the week off,” he said.

“We have named 19 so we have contingenc­ies in there. He isn’t too bad considerin­g where he is at and the injury was only a couple of weeks ago.

“If we decide to play him, he will go in with the expectatio­n he does his job and part of that job means at times he has to kick the footy.

“They all know their role and are expected to do their job.”

Thurston revealed his groin injury flared up when kicking for touch against the Titans at the weekend and doing the same may cause him significan­t pain against Brisbane.

Thurston said he would play on Saturday after scans cleared him of major damage.

“I had a lot of physio work done yesterday, this morning and I will do what I can to make it right for Saturday,” he said. “I felt a twinge and the more I kicked, the worse it got.

“I was goal kicking and then I kicked for touch and that’s when I really felt it.

“I will do some kicking towards the back end of the week to make sure it has healed first.

“I can’t see myself missing a game because of it.

“I will goal kick later in the week. It if isn’t right, then one of the other boys will have take up those duties.”

Kyle Feldt or Ethan Lowe may have to kick for goal, a crucial aspect of finals, where the games are typically decided by single figure margins.

Thurston (pictured with Morgan) said he backed Morgan to be healthy and firing on Saturday.

“We have missed him since he’s been out attacking wise, but we had a step in the right direction against the Titans,” he said.

“He has some fitness tests coming but hopefully he’s right and we fire on all cylinders. “I am very excited. Saturday night against the Broncs ... it doesn’t get any bigger.

“We have worked extremely hard since November last year.”

I am very excited.

Saturday night against the Broncs ... it doesn’t get

any bigger

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