North Queensland fullback Michael Morgan will struggle to be fit for Origin II after suffering a biceps injury in the Cowboys' 23-16 loss to the New Zealand Warriors on Friday night in Townsville.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters names his side on Monday and would not have enjoyed the sight of Morgan sitting on the 1300Smiles Stadium sideline with his left upper arm wrapped in a bag of ice.
The injury could see Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga's stocks rise as a bench option for Morgan if he's unable to pass the Maroons' medical. Walters has already said Billy Slater will be named at No.1 for Queensland in the June 24 game at ANZ Stadium.
Meantime, the Warriors shot out of the gates to lead 18-2 after tries to Ken Maumalo, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Solomone Kata in the space of 10 minutes.
Match: Cowboys v Warriors
Round 15 -
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
It was Morgan's effort to tackle his opposite number in Tuivasa-Sheck that left left him in obvious pain. He left the field almost immediately after having the arm strapped.
His replacement at fullback Ben Hampton did his best to stop Kata after a line-break a minute after he took the field. But the bigger man made a speed bump out of him on his way to the line in the 27th minute to score the Warriors' third try of the night.
Hampton then had to leave the field for a HIA test.
When the Warriors made an error after a 20 metre tap, the Cowboys had a golden opportunity to post points before half-time. After a repeat set the stand-in fullback Feldt made it happen, finding his winger Javid Bowen unmarked and with a cut-out pass he was away in the corner to bring the half-time score to 18-8.
The Cowboys opened the second half with aggression. Feldt scooted from dummy half to slam the ball down out wide for a try [42nd minute] to bring the Cowboys within six points.
They killed their own momentum with back-to-back errors, the second of which was on their own 30 metre line.
A penalty soon after saw Shaun Johnson take the two points, expanding the difference back to eight.
The Cowboys turned the momentum with strong defence, pinning the Warriors deep down in their own territory.
Their patience paid off in the end when Te Maire Martin took an intercept, sprinting 50 metres before finding Feldt on the wing for his second.
They looked to have scored the next try when the ball was knocked backwards out of Jason Taumalolo's hands and into Johnathan Thurston's. But the video referee ruled a knock-on in the tackle.
The Cowboys again went close off a kick, but Tuivasa-Sheck was too good at the back and managed to force the ball before Hampton could get his hands to it.
From there the Warriors managed to roll up the field with Johnson potting his third field goal of the season to seal victory.
News & Notes...: The Warriors have broken a seven straight losing streak in Townsville...their 10th win keeps the Warriors in the top-four... Although it is still mathematically possible for the Cowboys to make the top-eight, they will need to win all of their remaining games to secure a spot... The Cowboys play the Rabbitohs in Cairbns on July 1 after the rep weekend bye. The Warriors are back home in Auckland against Cronulla on June 29.