Winterstein named in Cowboys team
North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green has named his Round 1 squad to face the Canberra Raiders at 1300 Smiles Stadium. Green will give injured winger Antonio Winterstein every chance to prove his fitness before kick-off, but has named a 21-man squad which includes Gideon Gela-Mosby, Javid Bowen and Kalyn Ponga.
Green has also named his new forwards rotation, with Scott Bolton starting in the No.10 jersey and Coen Hess and Patrick Kaufusi taking two bench positions to edge out Sam Hoare.
"There was a split hair between [Kaufusi and Hoare] they – both showed me what I wanted to see in the pre-season. I just thought [Patrick] suits us a little bit better with getting that balance right," Green said.
Ben Hampton is set to make his debut for the club off the bench, in what will most likely be a utility role interchanging with hooker Jake Granville.
Green's first choice at wing is still Winterstein, and he is hopeful that he will play.
"He's still a chance at this stage, he's not definite, but a guy with his experience we'll give him as much time as he needs," Green said.
"He knows what he needs to do to get himself ready to play. [It's a] pretty important side of the field, marking Leilua and Ropana. We need to be good down that left side so having his experience will be good."
Winterstein will have to train successfully on Friday if he is to take the field. In the event that he doesn't play, Green is confident in his available options.
"It's probably between Javid and Kalyn at this stage. I'll look through the Canberra team and finalise how we want to play and who fits into that better," he said.
"They've both been in good form... that's what I want to see, guys confident and playing well."
Cowboys team: Lachlan Coote, Kyle Feldt, Justin O'Neill, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Michael Morgan, Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Jake Granville, Scott Bolton, Gavin Cooper, Ethan Lowe, Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: Ben Hampton, John Asiata, Coen Hess, Patrick Kaufusi. Reserves: Sam Hoare, Gideon Gela Mosby, Javid Bowen, Kalyn Ponga.