Young Cowboys ready to step up as McGuire sidelined
COWBOYS backrower Mitch Dunn says his small taste of NRL this season has only made him hungrier to get back as a calf injury to Josh McGuire opens the door for the club's young forwards.
The Cowboys confirmed yesterday that McGuire suffered a minor calf strain in last Friday's 28-14 win over the Titans which will see him sidelined for up to three weeks.
The prognosis was better than expected for the Cowboys with the chance that McGuire will only miss this Sunday's clash with the Rabbitohs in Brisbane.
Coach Paul Green will name McGuire's replacement today with backrower Dunn and prop Corey Jensen among those in consideration if the Cowboys stick with flashy forward John Asiata at five-eighth.
Dunn started this season in the unfamiliar role of bench utility for the Cowboys, playing four NRL games before he was dropped to the Queensland Cup with the Mackay Cutters.
That move has allowed the 22-year-old to return to his preferred position in the backrow and Dunn said he was hanging out for a Cowboys recall whenever his next opportunity arises.
"It's definitely made me hungrier and it did last year as well playing two games so I really want to get back there. I'm hanging out for it," Dunn said.
"You always want to be playing first grade, but I guess I'm pretty young so I'm just grateful to have a shot there and I've got a few things to work on before I get back there.
"Playing backrow now it's been a bit easier to practice taking my carries and making my tackles and that … but in saying that I'd still much rather be playing NRL anywhere.
Dunn is off-contract at season's end, but the Mackay product said he wasn't stressing about trying to secure another deal with the Cowboys.
"I've been really good at not thinking about that to be honest. I just let that sort itself out and just play footy," Dunn said.
Meanwhile, Maroons coach Kevin Walters helped eased concerns over McGuire's calf injury, saying he expects the Cowboys lock to be available for the State of Origin series opener on June 5.
The Maroons carried several players under injury clouds into game one last year and that gamble backfired as Billy Slater was a late withdrawal forcing Michael Morgan into fullback in the 22-12 loss.
Walters told the Big Sports Breakfast yesterday that he had spoken with McGuire over the weekend and the hard-hitting forward assured him he would be fit to take on the Blues.
"He's expecting to be out for one to two weeks and he doesn't fear that it's going to cause him any problems or concerns around Origin," Walters said.
"That's some good news for the Maroons because obviously he's a key part of what the Maroons are about to go through this year."