Morgan ready for blockbuster
North Queensland have given the strongest indication yet that star five-eighth Michael Morgan will beat the clock and lace up the boots for their Qualifying Final against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Morgan trained strongly at training this morning, and assistant coach David Furner said that Morgan's only hurdle lies within.
"Yeah we do [expect him to play]. He trained today and obviously [there is an] ongoing bit of maintenance. But a light run tomorrow and he will be right to go for Saturday," Furner said on Thursday.
"It's just a matter of him having that confidence to be able to run on it. It's more of a mindset. We've had some contact [work]; he's given it a fair test.
"He gives another angle in our attack from 'JT' [Johnathan Thurston] and Jake Granville as well. He's got plenty of speed and his been playing some good football this year, and although Ray Thompson has been doing a good job, Morgan adds a little bit of an X-factor in our attack."
Morgan's halves partner Thurston is a confirmed starter after tweaking his groin against the Titans last Saturday, but the question remains around his kicking duties.
After a season of numerous areas needing to be addressed it seemed that, in goal kicking, North Queensland may have created another for themselves on finals eve.
But an upbeat Furner has full faith in the second and third options of second-rower Ethan Lowe and winger Kyle Feldt, should Thurston not be able to get clearance to kick by tomorrow's session.
"[Thurston] will have a kick tomorrow and that will determine whether or not he will be able to goal-kick," he said.
"[Lowe and Feldt] probably didn't do themselves any favours last week," quipped the kicking coach, who manned the tee in his playing days at Canberra between 1992 and 2000.
"I don't know who the kicking coach is but I know they are both very capable. Before that game Ethan Lowe was at 80 per cent so that's not bad for a goal-kicker.
"I'll probably take a bit of the rap there, but they have been working on it, but it's something that can be very important. Last week we got away with it."
Matt Scott and Lachlan Coote also had no issues in running out Thursday's session after sitting out on Tuesday with soft tissue injuries.
Despite a statistical dip over the past month, Scott insists he is not hindered by anything, including the problematic neck that required a cortisone injection after the State of Origin series.
"I'm as close to 100 per cent as I am going to get at this time of year," he said.
"There are always going to be niggles; there aren't too many players running around in the NRL that don't have some type of niggling injury. I wouldn't be playing if I didn't think I could go there to do a job.
"[The neck] has been really good actually. I get treatment on it every week but the cortisone injection worked really well and I'm pretty happy with where it's at at the moment."
The Broncos' only injury concern is that of Corey Parker, who injured his hamstring at training on Wenesday.
"I don't expect him not to play really," Furner said.
"I did hear that he tweaked something but I think that's more of a smokescreen so that's not our concern."