North Queensland fullback Lachlan Coote trained under a modified regimen on Friday, and will be given as long as possible to prove he is fit to play ahead of the Cowboys clash with the Wests Tigers at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday night.
Coach Paul Green has no intention of dropping potential replacement Kalyn Ponga from the team even if Coote is fit, insisting that his speed and footwork will be valuable in the utility role.
"I think he can be really dangerous out of dummy half, he's very quick, he's got good footwork," Green said of Ponga.
"I think he can worry some of those tired forwards. Defensively it'll probably be a bit of a shock for him… but it won't be for too long. As much as they can worry him he can worry them.
"He's not afraid of the physical side of the game, his tackle technique is good, it's just getting used to the work load, that's probably the biggest thing."
Cowboys utility Ben Hampton will be put to the test when he starts in the hooker role, but Green is confident that he'll be up to the challenge.
"He'll be fine, physically he's a bit bigger than Jake Granville so he'll get into it no worries," he said.
"He's got plenty of toe, and that's what attracted us to Ben in the first place, having that speed out of dummy half.
"It's a part of our game where we can really be a threat and that's what we want."
Green is being careful with his premiership winning fullback, and won't risk playing Coote if his fitness isn't certain.
"If it was a bigger game you might take the player's opinion a little bit more seriously, but at early parts of the year it's all about risk," Green said.
Coote aggravated a calf injury in the Round 5 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but managed to play the full 80 minutes.