Cowboys recover to take on Storm
North Queensland Cowboys players Scott Bolton and Shaun Fensom are on track for a full recovery from illness and injury respectively to be ready to take on the Melbourne Storm on Friday night.
Bolton had barely trained before running out against the Sydney Roosters last week, and it showed in his performance, making just 57 metres compared to his season average of 133.
The prop forward is confident his illness will be a distant memory by the time he runs out to take on Melbourne, where his strong runs and leadership from the front will be needed.
"Nearly back to 100 per cent, it got me down a little bit, I missed a couple of sessions there. Hopefully on the mend now and I can finish the season well," Bolton said.
"[The Storm] always turn up to play, it's one of their attributes, we'll be looking to do the same thing and hopefully out-work them here at home."
The Cowboys will need to be at their defensive best to slow down the Storm's play-the-ball, with fast ruck-speed costing North Queensland valuable metres against an aggressive Roosters pack last week.
"You're not going to get it right every time but it's about slowing them down as much as we can which gives our edges a better chance of defending their shapes," Bolton said.
"With Smith, Cronk and Slater there they can really put on a couple of plays to test us back up through the middle there. We'll be looking to negate that by slowing the ruck down."
Fensom will be a huge addition to the Cowboys' defensive capabilities in that department, with the workhorse consistently cleaning up plays through the middle of the field, allowing the Cowboys to maintain their line-speed.
Coach Paul Green is pleased to have Fensom back in the side, and is confident he'll be a big part of controlling the ruck when he comes on in the middle of the game.
"We need to tackle well, control the ball, those sort of things are important. [The Storm] are very good at that in particular so we need to work hard in that area and you just need to compete, you need to stay in the game as long as they're prepared to and they're pretty good at that," Green said.
The Cowboys will take on the Storm missing only Cameron Munster, with Ryley Jacks coming into the five-eighth position to cover for the injured half.