Injury hit Cowboys' confidence still high

Aug 15, 2017 - 4:59 PM They may be down on troops but North Queensland coach Paul Green says confidence is still high at the Cowboys ahead of their final push for an NRL top eight finish.

Green won't be able to confirm his 17 for Saturday night's home clash with Cronulla until at least match eve as he sweats on playmaker Te Maire Martin (knee) and fullback Lachlan Coote (ankle).

The Cowboys' injury list blew out to 12 after Coote, forward Shaun Fensom (knee) and ex-Queensland Origin flyer Justin O'Neill (elbow) became the latest victims in last round's loss to Penrith.

Green said he had been impressed with how the Cowboys had responded to the injury crisis despite stumbling to three successive losses.

North Queensland are eighth on the ladder, one win ahead of nearest rivals St George Illawarra, with three regular season rounds left.

"We have taken confidence out of the last three weeks," Green said.

"Despite the adversity we have faced we have been in winning positions against quality opposition.

"That's the main thing, that we don't lose that confidence.

"As long as we are competing the way we have been the last three weeks we will be in most contests."

Martin and Coote must complete Friday's full training session to be considered for the showdown with the fourth-placed Sharks.

NRL prodigy Kalyn Ponga has been recalled for his first game since April after being named on the wing in a Cowboys backline reshuffled after O'Neill's injury.

Ponga has played six games this year - all at fullback - but he had not been sighted since round nine.

"Kalyn offers a bit of X-factor and provides cover at fullback if something were to happen to Cootey," Green said.

Green said the Cowboys were still sweating on scan results for O'Neill after reports he could be sidelined for up to six weeks.

"At this stage we don't know. But he will be out for a little while," he said.

Source: AAP






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