Scott’s NRL return likely to be put on ice

Matt Scott’s surprise return from a season-long knee injury will likely be put on hold after Coen Hess was cleared to play in North Queensland’s preliminary final against the Sydney Roosters.

Scott hasn’t played since he underwent a knee reconstruction in March after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in round two. But he was a shock inclusion in the Cowboys’ 21-man squad named on Tuesday for Saturday night’s clash.

Coach Paul Green was adamant the Queensland and Australian Test prop would only run out at Allianz Stadium if the Cowboys suffered injuries to their forward pack during the week.

But with the club now expecting both Hess (knee) and John Asiata (broken hand) to play, Scott’s return appears most unlikely.

“I don’t think there is any doubt with Hessy,” assistant coach Todd Payten said.

“I saw him run without strapping earlier in the week and training yesterday.

“In order for Johnny to play it’s just looking after him during the week.”

Scott travelled with the battered and bruised Cowboys from Townsville to Sydney on Thursday, after they received another rousing farewell from their fans at the airport.

His inclusion in the 17-man team would represent a significant boost in experience for the Cowboys, given his standing as one of the most consistent front-rowers in the game.

He would likely only play less than 30 minutes off the bench given his current match fitness.

But Payten stressed his impact wouldn’t be worth the risk after six months out of the game unless it was absolutely necessary due to injuries.

“There is a concern about the re-risk of injury,” Payten said.

“If he was to play and something happened in the game and he was forced to play longer minutes, then that risk would be greater.

“That’s part of the reason why we haven’t named him (in the 17), but it’s more about the depth and a bit of back-up plan if something does happen.”

Payten also insisted the club had not tried to play mind games with the Roosters by naming Scott on their extended bench to create a little confusion before the game.

“We were genuinely concerned about our lack of depth in that middle rotation,” he said.

“Thumper (Scott) gives us a great deal of experience and a bit of confidence if he was to come into the side.

“We wouldn’t waste our energy on trying to play some mind games like that.”

Meanwhile five-eighth Te Maire Martin and winger Antonio Winterstein will both come into the grand final qualifier under injury clouds.

Martin has battled a shoulder injury through the back-end of the season, while Winterstein hurt his ribs in last week’s win over Parramatta.

“Tones (Martin) probably has a question around him,” Payten said.

“He got through training and actually moved pretty well yesterday.”

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!