Scott still in control of Cowboys forwards
His on-field contribution is finished for 2017 but Origin and Test prop Matt Scott is still helping to guide the Cowboys forward pack towards a second premiership, a premiership many say is impossible due to Scott's absence.
Scott ruptured his ACL in the Round 2 clash with the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium and with the loss of James Tamou and Ben Hannant in the off-season left their front row stocks almost bare, leading many pundits to write off their chances of repeating their 2015 title.
Having undergone surgery on March 16, Scott has been coming into Cowboys headquarters to run the forward pack through video sessions with the coaching staff outlining how they can be better and areas they can improve.
Twenty-three-year-old prop Patrick Kaufusi has been the man to step into the sizeable shoes of Scott since his injury and says tapping into his vast experience has been invaluable in assuming a starting role the past two weeks.
"He helps me a lot, just with little stuff," Kaufusi told NRL.com.
"He'll come in to our pack reviews and gives us little things we can work on. He helps out a lot even though he's still injured.
"Just things we can work on, things that he sees that can make us better as a team.
"We've all got to try and step up and fill his role. It's not just on one of us to step up and go outside our game to do that. We've got to try and work as a team and perform together."
Now in his third year in the top grade, Kaufusi had never started in his 15 previous NRL games before he was asked to wear Scott's No.8 jersey in Round 3 against the Sea Eagles.
Although he delivered some powerful charges for his side in the early exchanges it was a night North Queensland would just as soon forget and he said it provided major motivation to bounce back as soon as possible against the Titans.
It's another tough assignment against a Rabbitohs forward pack this Friday night that boasts two Burgess's and the incumbent New South Wales hooker but for Kaufusi it provides just the second opportunity of his career to play five consecutive games in the top grade.
Since graduating from the under-20s team at the end of the 2014 season Kaufusi has been moving back and forth between the Cowboys and the Northern Pride in the Intrust Super Cup and admits leaving Townsville each weekend to play in Cairns provided the motivation to lock down a spot in the 17 this year.
"It's pretty hard but it motivates you," Kaufusi said of moving between the Cowboys and their northern affiliate.
"It pushes you to want to be in the team and not be going back [to Intrust Super Cup].
"In saying that, when you go back you've got to perform as well as you can back at Pride to try and get back in the team.
"I think it's motivation. It's hard but it's good motivation to try and get back in the team.
"It's an unreal opportunity and I'm just grateful for the opportunity. I've just got to keep showing I can fill that position and keep pushing when I'm out there."