North Queensland will give five-eighth Michael Morgan every chance to prove his fitness for Saturday’s NRL qualifying final against Brisbane.
The Queensland State of Origin representative was named in a 19-man squad by coach Paul Green on Tuesday for the derby clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Morgan hasn’t played for the Cowboys since injuring his ankle during the big win over the Warriors in round 24.
At the time it was feared Morgan’s season could be over but if the 23-year-old can come through Thursday’s training session unscathed he’ll take his place alongside skipper Johnathan Thurston in the Cowboys’ halves.
“We’ve probably missed him since he’s been out, attacking-wise,” Thurston said of Morgan.
“I think he’s got some fitness tests to get through and hopefully he can be right and we’ll be firing on all cylinders.”
Thurston himself is nursing a groin injury but the superstar playmaker says there’s no doubt about him lining up against the Broncos.
Thurston handed over the goal-kicking duties and sat out the last few minutes of last weekend’s big win over the Titans but the 32-year-old says that was just a precautionary measure.
“I should be right to play,” he said.
“Do some kicking towards the end of the week and make sure it’s okay but I can’t see myself missing a game, even if it wasn’t the finals.”
Morgan’s likely return and James Tamou’s successful comeback from a neck injury means the Cowboys head south with a near full-strength line-up.
Prop Matt Scott sat out portions of Tuesday’s training run along with fullback Lachlan Coote but Green said both players were being treated with kid gloves at this stage to ensure they’re right for Saturday’s game.
“They’re nursing a couple of soft tissue things there but I expect them to train, full train, on Thursday,” Green said.
Back-rower Jason Taumalolo believes Saturday’s game looms as one of the biggest in the club’s 20-year history, especially as it is against their Queensland rivals.
“The fact it’s a derby and a rival game in a final, that makes it even more special,” Taumalolo told AAP.
“It’ll be a good game to be a part of, I can’t wait.”
TIMING IS EVERYTHING – The Cowboys’ stars finding fitness and form for finals
Matt Scott – The representative prop was rested for round 22 but hasn’t missed a beat since then
James Tamou – The NSW Origin player made an earlier than expected return from a neck injury last weekend
Michael Morgan – Sprained an ankle in round 24 but looks like he’ll be fit for a return against the Broncos
Gavin Cooper – The important utility appears to have no lingering concerns from an injury that ruled him out for a week last month.