Scott fit for Sea Eagles clash
Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott will take his place in the side on Saturday after speculation a cork would rule him out of North Queensland's clash with Manly at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Scott was seen limping out of the Maroons’ hotel on Thursday morning but has since shrugged off his injury complaint, completing a training run on Friday morning.
Cowboys assistant coach John Cartwright confirmed all four Origin players were right to back up on Saturday despite the three-day turnaround.
"[Scott] got through that session fine," he said after the team’s final training run.
"With the short turnaround there’s always that chance that they may wake up a bit sorer day three or four, but he got through that training session fine and all the indications are that he will play.
"A lot of energy at training today on the back of State of Origin and everyone being happy for the guys that came back and had a win."
Cartwright is expecting extended playing time from his bench to ease the load on Origin stars Scott and James Tamou.
"I think so. The bench is always a wait-and-see," Cartwright said of the potential for increased involvement from bench players.
"You go in with a plan and you get an injury early in the game and that puts that plan null and void so it’ll be a wait-and-see."
Impact off the interchange bench has been a point of pride for North Queensland in previous weeks, with Ben Hannant, John Asiata and Ben Spina in particular producing at a higher rate in the absences of Scott, Tamou, Jason Taumalolo and Scott Bolton.
Spina and young forward Patrick Kaufusi have been omitted from the seven-man bench named on Tuesday and will line up for the Northern Pride in the Intrust Super Cup, leaving Hannant, Asiata and Sam Hoare along with either Ray Thompson or Rory Kostjasyn to fill the utility role.
As was the case last season Thompson and Kostjasyn will find themselves in a week-by-week battle for selection as they fight for the No. 14 jersey behind starting hooker Jake Granville.
"We’re really healthy so you have got to really enjoy it when you can get it because it doesn’t happen that often," Cartwright said.
"No one really deserves to lose their spot."
Cartwright labelled Saturday’s contest a danger game after the Sea Eagles’ spike in form over the past month.
"Manly started very slow, but you look a their last month... They’ve beaten Melbourne twice (this season)," he said.
"Anyone who knows anything about Manly knows what a proud club they are and I think it’s been 12 years since they’ve missed out on semis so no one wants to be part of that team that doesn’t play semi final footy so they will be desperate."
"It’s a game that you look at the table you would expect the Cowboys to win but it just doesn’t work like that. We have four guys backing up from a really tough game and it’s going to be a slog for us."