COWBOYS playmaker Te Maire Martin has been given the all-clear to play in Saturday’s must-win showdown with the Sharks, in a major boost for North Queensland’s top-eight hopes.
Coach Paul Green confirmed his five-eighth has overcome a knee injury to meet the reigning premiers in Townsville, but the side are still sweating on the availability of Lachlan Coote (ankle).
Both Martin and Coote completed training on Friday and while Green was confident in Martin’s ability to play, he was not so sure about his fullback.
“He got through the session, so we’ll see how he pulls up today,” Green said of Coote.
“It’s happened before where guys have pulled up sore from (training). It’s a touch-and-go, racing-the-clock sort of thing.
“Te Maire got through the session too, so I expect him to play.
“Te Maire was getting some nice combos before he hurt his knee so it’s good to have him back and hopefully he can continue improving in that area.”
Skipper Michael Morgan has also passed all necessary tests after suffering a concussion against the Panthers last week and will take to the field tonight as expected.
The Cowboys desperately need to get a win on home turf to show they are still major contenders for this year’s premiership.
After three consecutive losses and a horror run of injury, North Queensland’s finals hopes are in jeopardy despite the determination they have shown over the past month.
But Green said he hopes it is this character which will not only deliver his side the two points tonight, but make them a real finals force heading into September.
“There’s three games to go,” he said.
“We need to win at least one out of those to qualify in the eight. The top four is still a carrot there for us so we’ll be in there swinging.
“We’ve shown that we stay in the fight regardless of what’s going on on the field and who’s playing where. Everyone competes hard.
“While you’ve got that in your team, you’re a chance in most contests. Whether or not people are backing us, I don’t really care.
“But as long as they keep showing the character that they have in recent weeks, I’ll be happy.”