Johnathan Thurston appears likely to be passed fit to take on Wests Tigers on Sunday with Jason Taylor saying he expects the champion halfback to run out at Leichhardt Oval.
Thurston missed the Cowboys’ last start NRL loss to Melbourne with a hamstring injury but trained with the side during Friday’s captain’s run.
The four-time Dally M winner was originally slated to miss two to three weeks but warmed up and nearly ran out against the Storm, leading Tigers coach Taylor to believe he would return on Sunday.
“If it was right that he almost played last weekend, there’s no reason that they wouldn’t play him,” Taylor said.
“I’m sure that he’s at the point now where he’s 100 per cent. We’re expecting him to be here.”
Thurston and the Cowboys have a surprisingly poor record against the Tigers, given their dominance of the NRL over the last few years.
The Townsville side have won just one of eight matches at Leichhardt while Thurston has lost 11 of 11 games against the Tigers played in Sydney – including the 2005 grand final.
Thurston was not named, with Ray Thompson pencilled in at halfback, and Taylor warned the Cowboys shaped as a daunting prospect even without him.
He pointed to their gutsy effort to push the Storm 18-6 last week and said they had evolved to be more than just a one-club player.
“The Cowboys are not a team that’s based around one player now,” Taylor said.
“We’ve spent this week looking at all their players from their hooker (Jake Granville) and their fullback (Lachlan Coote), in particular those guys are really hard to stop.
“There’s plenty of others there too.”