Coote to miss Cowboys season opener
North Queensland Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote is set to miss the club's round one NRL clash against the Cronulla Sharks in Townsville with a hamstring injury.
Coote aggravated the injury in the opening minutes of the Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith Testimonial match against the Melbourne Storm last month
It's wretched timing for Coote who will miss Thurston's 300th NRL game.
"It's a bit unfortunate, but I probably won't make round one. It's pretty frustrating, you do all that work in the pre-season, you get your body right and fully functioning and then it goes down in a trial match," Coote said.
"Unfortunately I'll miss JT's 300th… there hasn't really been an estimation yet… hopefully not too long, I'll still be fighting for round two."
Fullback duties will fall to Ben Hampton, and Coote has wasted no time in helping his replacement get up to speed.
Hampton has played two trial matches at fullback, and although he impressed coach Paul Green he feels he still has a lot to work on.
"I played the trials there… obviously with Cootie having the niggle I've been training there the last couple of weeks so I'm feeling confident that I can do my job and do what the team needs from me," Hampton said.
"Cootie's a great player… I've probably struggled a little bit with the positional side of fullback, they're very busy these days and they're a massive part of the defensive line and Cootie has been helping me out with that."
Hampton's defence certainly didn't waver in either of the trial matches, in which he pulled of some try-saving one-on-one tackles, which has only built his confidence in the role.
"I think making a few of those tackles in the Tigers trial came back to being in the right position at the right time and if I wasn't in that position I wouldn't have been able to make those tackles and that's what Cootie's been helping me with," he said.
"[The Melbourne game] was a bit tougher… I played longer minutes against some pretty handy players, I've been pretty happy with both of my trials."