Cowboys prop Matt Scott has been named in the extended 21-man squad. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Cowboys prop Matt Scott has been named in the extended 21-man squad. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Cowboys big guns in line for return

FEARS that Matt Scott and Jordan McLean would miss the rest of the year have been allayed with the international props a chance to return from serious injuries in the Cowboys' home clash against Newcastle on Friday night.

Scott, battling a neck injury, and McLean, who injured his foot in March playing against Penrith, were named in the Cowboys extended 21-man squad on Tuesday.

Cowboys coach Paul Green was hesitant to say they would see any game time this week but said the pair had got through contact drills well on Tuesday.

"They trained well today, they were mixed in and out of the team so it will more so be how they pull out of that," Green said.

"For those guys to show how much they're willing to do to get back on the paddock given the season we've had so far, shows their commitment to the team, which is a great lesson for the young blokes."

"We want to compete as hard as we can every week, but we're not going to take any stupid risks. We wouldn't take any risks with them given their injuries."

 

Cowboys prop Jordan McLean might see his first game time since March. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Cowboys prop Jordan McLean might see his first game time since March. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Green said Scott was determined to make it back on the paddock particularly given fellow co-captain Johnathan Thurston will retire at the end of the season.

Scott, 32, had neck surgery after the Cowboys 2015 premiership win. He was withdrawn from the round 15 clash against the Warriors last month and has not played since.

Addressing rumours he may not be sighted again this season, Green said those types of claim would be swirling "given where he's at in his career and what's happened to him up until this point".

"He's a pretty determined sort of guy and he's got his head around wanting to play again this year again," he said.

Cowboys backrower Gavin Cooper said they have sorely missed the foundation laid by their starting props.

"If Thumper (Scott) and Macca put their best foot forward and give the coaching staff something to think about, hopefully we'll get them back in the team," Cooper said.

"I don't know their full situation but they've done a whole lot of rehab to get back to where they are, and to see them on the (training) field today was pretty promising."

Cowboys coach Paul Green expects more of his young five-eighth Jake Clifford. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Cowboys coach Paul Green expects more of his young five-eighth Jake Clifford. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Green said he expected more from young five-eighth Jake Clifford this week after the 20-year-old made his Cowboys debut last week against the Dragons.

"I think he has to (take more ownership), if he wants to stay in the team," Green said.

"He's got a role to play, and it's an important role playing five-eighth with Johnno. He needs to step up and do his job when it's required of him."

Te Maire Martin will start at fullback for the second straight week, with long-serving custodian Lachlan Coote omitted from the 21-man squad completely.

Cowboys team to play Knights

1. Te Maire Martin, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Kane Linnett, 5. Justin O'Neill, 6. Jake Clifford, 7. Johnathan Thurston (c), 8. John Asiata, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Scott Bolton, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange 14. Ben Hampton, 15. Shaun Fensom, 16. Mitchell Dunn, 17. Corey Jensen. Reserves 18. Matt Scott, 19. Ethan Lowe, 20. Francis Molo, 21. Jordan McLean