Cowboys injury toll mounts in Penrith loss

By , Steve Zemek is a Roar Guru

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    We’re not done yet: That’s the message from North Queensland despite their injury toll worsening with nearly a whole starting team’s worth of talent sidelined.

    Michael Morgan (concussion), Justin O’Neill (elbow) and Lachlan Coote (ankle, leg) all suffered injuries in their gutsy 24-16 loss to Penrith on Saturday to add to an already crippling casualty list.

    With Johnathan Thurston (shoulder), Matt Scott (knee), Patrick Kaufusi (foot), Josh Chudleigh (knee) and Ben Spina (bicep) gone for the season and Gavin Cooper (calf), Te Maire Martin (knee) and Antonio Winterstein (hamstring) watching from the stands, the Cowboys are missing 11 players from their first-grade squad.

    O’Neill was distraught in the Pepper Stadium sheds and it was feared he had suffered a dislocated elbow, a potentially season-ending injury.

    Morgan spent the entire second half on the sidelines and is no guarantee to take on Cronulla next week.

    Coach Paul Green admitted he probably would have pulled Coote from the field had his bench not already been reduced to two men.

    Green was forced to shuffle his line up and prop John Asiata finished the game in the halves while back-rowers Coen Hess and Ethan Lowe both spent time in the centres.

    The Cowboys fell to eighth with the loss and it appears the injury toll is beginning to catch up with them but Green was adamant they weren’t a spent force following their gutsy showing against the Panthers.

    “They didn’t roll over, they kept competing. I was really proud of the character,” Green said.

    “We’ve shown plenty of times that while you’ve got that you’re a chance in any game you play. We’re not done yet.

    “It just feels like there’s a few things going against us the last couple of weeks.

    “There were plenty of guys playing out of position and three quarters into the game we still had a chance to win.”

    © AAP 2017

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