Round two in the stoush between Newcastle’s Beau Scott and North Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston appears back on, with the Knights’ NRL forward hinting at a return from injury.
And Scott vowed to produce more of the same treatment that left Cowboys playmaker Thurston with a black eye – and North Queensland coach Paul Green fuming – in their last clash in March.
Green said he expected Scott to run out in Saturday night’s clash in Newcastle despite the Knights’ enforcer not being named due to an ankle injury.
And Scott on Thursday kept the door open for what loomed as a memorable grudge match.
“It’s not too bad. If I get some (training) loads through it the next couple of days and it feels alright – I don’t know … we will wait and see,” Scott told NRL.com.
His return won’t surprise Green.
“I expect him to play. He’s a tough resilient bloke, very experienced,” Green told reporters.
“They have had a couple of losses so I will be expecting him to line up if he is close.”
Scott was more than aware of the “backlash” from their last showdown in round two but claimed he wouldn’t change his approach if he ran out on Saturday night.
“It got plenty of attention,” Scott said.
“(But) you’ve got to shut down the best people in the team and, obviously, he’s one of the best going around and ever will be.
“It’s my role. It’s anyone’s role that stands opposite a playmaker in any team, to limit his opportunities and make him have as less impact on the game as possible.”
Green knew what to expect from a Newcastle team which raised eyebrows in round two for their aggressive tactics towards Thurston, including what appeared to be late hits from a Scott-led defence.
“Games against Newcastle are always fairly physical so I don’t expect this one to be any different,” he said.
“I expect them to pressure most of our key guys.”
But Green said Newcastle would line up against a very different Cowboys team thanks to a four-game winning run.
“We were disappointed with the (round two) loss but we don’t want to make too much of that game – it was a fair while ago now,” he said.
“We are quite a bit (better) than then.
“Mentally, we are better and there is a bit more confidence in the team; we have hung in games a bit longer; we are different in key positions and we are defending better.”
Asked what he expected from the referees this weekend in the wake of the round-two controversy, Green said: “I don’t think they need to do anything special except ref what the rules are – I am sure they will do that.”