Cowboys ready to 'play with one leg or one arm'
It's a somewhat tragic analogy, but the North Queensland Cowboys have adopted the attitude of the Black Knight who King Arthur meets in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Broken hand? 'Tis but a scratch! A grade two medial ligament injury? I'll bite you to death! Returning to the field five weeks after an elbow dislocation? I've had worse!
Unlike the Monty Python character, it seems to be working for the Cowboys. Indeed two of their tries against the Parramatta Eels came from players who were injured.
John Asiata scored his first try in more than 70 games with a broken hand, while Te Maire Martin found his first try assist on an injured medial ligament through Coen Hess, who had also hurt his knee earlier in the game.
Hess's attitude was nonchalant towards an injury that forced him from the field later in the game, and he is confident he'll take the field against the Sydney Roosters this weekend.
"Obviously the knee was pretty sore but I think injuring it close to half-time there I think I was able to let it cool off and then it felt a lot better and I was able to go out there in the second half," Hess said.
"I think we've had a lot of adversity in the team, a lot of guys have been playing with injuries now so I think it's just expected from each other that unless it is a very serious injury that we just get along with the job and do it to the best of our ability."
Evidently the Cowboys' definition of a serious injury has changed somewhat, largely influenced by their attitude of turning up for each other, no matter what the cost.
"Everyone wants to be playing finals footy, no one really wants to be sitting on the bench so I think it's a lot of key factors that you want to stay out there and ride the rollercoaster with the team," Hess said.
"You never know what might happen in a game, or what play might make a massive difference so I think it's just turning up in case you're needed not when you're needed."
Winger Antonio Winterstein has been one of the Cowboys' worst afflicted this year, returning from two arm injuries and a hamstring injury, but has no time for concerns.
The winger also injured his ribs on the weekend but managed to avoid any structural damage and is also certain he'll take the field against the Roosters this weekend.
"No, you've got no time to think about those things on the field, you've just got to get up and get on with the game, you've got a job to do for your team," Winterstein said.
"I worry about that after the game but they pulled up really good, I did a good, solid contact session today.
"There's a number of boys battling injuries, John Asiata playing with a broken hand, 'Hessy' got injured on the weekend.
"No one is going to not play this game, it's a big game and if we have to we'll play with one leg or one arm but that's been our mentality all year and it's good we're starting to see the benefits of that."