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Maroons pair Morgan, McGuire good to go against Sea Eagles

Coach Paul Green has declared Origin duo Josh McGuire and Michael Morgan certain starters for Saturday's home meeting with the Sea Eagles.

The Cowboys have won their past three matches and will welcome back McGuire and Morgan after Origin duty for Queensland kept them out of last week's gutsy 6-4 defeat of the Titans.

Green confirmed on Friday that Morgan and McGuire would back up from Wednesday night's 18-14 win over NSW.

"They’ll both play," Green said.

"They pulled up alright after Origin and are feeling pretty good so they’re keen to play.”

McGuire and Morgan basked in the adulation of an adoring home-town crowd on Wednesday and are probably still buzzing from the courageous come-from-behind win.

Green hopes some of that positive vibe rubs off on the rest of the Cowboys.

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

“It's always good when Queensland wins and your players come back, they’re always feeling a lot better about themselves," he said.

"Emotionally they're still riding that high which is good.”

Interestingly, Morgan will revert to fullback, allowing Green to retain Jake Clifford and John Asiata as his starting halves.

Green expects his skipper to handle the switch with ease.

“He’ll be fine. The running load’s a little bit higher coming off a State of Origin game, hopefully he can have enough gas in the tank to get through that," he said.

"I think he'll also be really good to keep our other halves calm and composed as well. That's one of Morgo’s strengths and I think he'll be really good for Jake and Johnny at the back.”

Cowboys v Sea Eagles - Round 13

Reuben Cotter will make his NRL debut against Manly in front of a home crowd.

Green said it was a special moment when Cotter learned he was playing on Saturday.

"I'm really happy for him. He didn't believe me at first, he thought I was geeing him up," Green said.

"It's just a great story - a great lesson in perseverance. We stuck by Reuben.

"He didn't play at all for a couple of years. We kept him on contract. He showed the fight and hopefully he can pay us back in spades when he gets out there on Saturday night and whatever other opportunities he gets throughout the year.

“It’s good that he's from the region, he’s a Mackay kid, and that ticks a lot of boxes from our point of view as a club. We always look to develop our own if we can.”

Green is expecting Manly’s Origin representatives Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic to take the field.

“I’d say so," Green said. "I don’t think they carried any injuries out of the game on Wednesday night.”

Jake’s brother Tom will make a return from a hamstring injury which has kept him on the sideline since round four and Green is wary of the threat the speedster poses.

“He's a terrific player, a threat all the way up the field," he said.

"He and his brother have got a great combination, good understanding. We'll have to be on our kick-chase and especially defending around the ruck as well.

“Hopefully he’s short of a bit of match fitness."

A win against Manly could lift the Cowboys into the top eight this weekend, although Green insists he's not interested in ladder positions.

The leading high-speed efforts from Origin I

“It’s about building momentum each week, which I said we wanted to do right from the start," he said.

"I didn't look at the ladder at the start of the year so I’m not going to start looking at the ladder now.

"We've got a bit of confidence, three in a row, so we're looking to build on that. The boys trained well, plenty of energy there.”

Jason Taumololo knows the wins over Gold Coast, Canberra and Parramatta will count for little if the Cowboys drop their intensity this week.

“Our season's on the line and this year's competition has been the tightest it has been in a while," Taumalolo said.

"We know what we can achieve if we string a few wins together but in saying that if we drop a few games we’re not far off sitting close to the bottom."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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