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Coach's last words | Round 1

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys coach Paul Green has rated the chances of Matt Scott playing the Raiders tomorrow night as higher than the likelihood of fellow stricken teammate Antonio Winterstein taking the field, as coaching staff negotiate illness and injury on game-eve.

Speaking after the team’s captains' run ahead of Saturday's game, Green said Scott – who is recovering from a leg infection that hospitalised him during the week – trained on Friday and would be assessed on game day.

If Scott is ruled out, young prop Sam Hoare steps into the 17-man team.

Winterstein – recovering from an ankle injury sustained in the Wests Tigers trial a fortnight ago – is less likely to take his place in the team, with Green on Friday anointing Javid Bowen as his replacement.

Kalyn Ponga and Gideon Gela-Mosby drop out of the squad as part of the cutback to 19 players.

Saturday’s NRL season-opener kicks off at 6pm at 1300SMILES Stadium.