Cowboys big men Scott and McLean stake claims for return
The Cowboys kissed their 2018 season goodbye long ago but that won't stop coach Paul Green throwing Matt Scott and Jordan McLean back into the fray after long-term injury layoffs provided the pair train strongly this week.
McLean has not played since injuring his foot in round four while Scott has missed the past four games with an ongoing neck injury which has hampered the veteran for a couple of seasons.
Locked in a dogfight to avoid the wooden spoon the Cowboys would love to have their enforcers back on deck for the last six games and both have named in Paul Green's 21 to take on the Knights this Friday after completing training on Tuesday.
There's more hurdles to jump as the week progresses but Green has dismissed the idea that he'd rest the props due to the Cowboys being unable to make the finals.
"We wouldn't take any risks with them given their injuries, outside of the normal risks that there are playing footy, but we want to compete as hard as we can every week," Green said.
"We're not going to take any stupid risks but they trained well on Tuesday so it's probably more about how they pull up from that."
"For those guys to show how much they're willing to do to get back on the paddock given the season we've had so far shows their commitment to the team. It's a great lesson for the young blokes."
Another familiar face in the side this week is Te Maire Martin, who has been named at fullback, a position Green believes the young playmaker can make his own.
Martin's running and passing were solid in his first game at fullback last week, but Green would like to see him take more pressure of Johnathan Thurston in the kicking department.
"He didn't have one kick. Just because he's moved from playing five-eighth to playing fullback he's still got the same skill set and I think the Dragons did a really good job at pressuring Johnno on last plays," Green said.
"That's where Te Maire in particular had to help him out so we're a bit less predictable on last plays so it makes it harder to put pressure on us."
Green is confident Martin has the skills to be a playmaking fullback, and acknowledged that he could make the position his own going into 2019.
"There's no doubt he can run and pass, he's done that as a five-eighth. I think for him it's about learning that positional play defensively and getting our line organised on the try line, that's probably new to him but I think he didn't do a bad job."