He’s yet to hit double figures in the Cowboys jumper, but reborn fullback Lachlan Coote already considers himself one of the leaders in the team.
Coote was one of North Queensland’s best in Saturday night’s rugged 8-0 win over the Wests Tigers in Campbelltown, turning away numerous assaults on his tryline and directing the team with his lethal left-footed kicking game.
“Cootey was outstanding for us tonight, particularly under those high balls and the kick returns,” coach Paul Green said post-game.
“He also was there when he needed to be on some of their last plays.
“They had a few grubber kicks and he was there to clean those up as well.
“He had a big night, Cootey. I’m really happy for him.”
While it was just his ninth appearance in Cowboys colours, the former Panther made it his mission to stand up in the absence of Origin stars Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, James Tamou and Matt Scott.
He finished the night with 166 metres on 15 carries, and 397 metres from 11 kicks.
“I’ve been around for a while now. This is my eighth season,” Coote said.
“I consider myself a senior player and it’s about time I step up and take that role.
“With them being out, I’m in a key position to do that sort of job. I guess I had to step up tonight.”
Coote moved to Townsville at the beginning of last season but failed to play a game after tearing his pectoral muscle in the Auckland Nines tournament.
After Michael Morgan’s breakout season at fullback last year, there were questions surrounding how the 25-year-old would fit in Green’s line-up.
However Morgan’s smooth transition into the frontline has allowed Coote to make up for lost time in a career plagued by injuries.
“That’s what it’s been throughout my whole career, injuries holding me back,” he said.
“This year I’m making the most of it and just playing footy.
“I’ve been around the team for almost a year and a half now.
“I know the boys, it’s like a family up there.
“I’m very happy to be a part of the boys now and playing alongside them.”