North Queensland have played down fears about Matt Scott’s fitness, declaring him certain to start Thursday’s NRL blockbuster with Canterbury.
The Maroons and Australian prop was a last-minute withdrawal from Saturday’s 34-6 thumping of the Warriors, fuelling speculation about possible back/neck issues, having undergone off-season back surgery.
However, coach Paul Green said Scott was merely being managed two weeks out from the finals and he would be fit to take on the Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground in a match that looks set to decide who takes fourth spot.
“(Scott) probably could have played but he would have been a much greater risk because of the short turnaround and the travel,” Green said.
“Because he didn’t have the game last weekend it virtually guaranteed he’d be right for this weekend.
“He manages playing with pain every week so it’s nothing new to him.
“He’s had that sore neck but he’s resilient and mentally tough sort of bloke. So that’s him at his best.”
Scott underwent surgery spinal surgery following last year’s drought-breaking premiership win to relieve pressure on a bulging disc.
He played through the pain during last year’s finals and Green indicated he would do the same this year.
“Just about everyone in that Origin gang would have had a week off here and there,” Green said.
“You want your best players playing but last week he wasn’t going to be the difference whether we win or lose.”