Michael Morgan will make his first appearance at fullback for the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys in tonight’s NRL pre-season trial against the Gold Coast Titans in Toowoomba.
With new signing Lachlan Coote sidelined for at least six months following knee surgery earlier this week, head coach Paul Green will use the final hit out before round one to help him settle on who will wear the No.1 jersey against Canberra at 1300SMILES Stadium on 8 March.
Better known as a halfback/five-eighth, Morgan will get the first chance to impress while Matthew Wright and Zac Santo should also get some time at the back when they come off the interchange bench.
In other selection news, Ray Thompson will start at hooker with Cameron King as his back-up and Tariq Sims will join Jason Taumalolo as the starting second-rowers with Nines captain Gavin Cooper not making the trip south.
The clash with the Titans will be the only run for co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, as well as outside back Brent Tate, before the opening round.
Thurston scored four tries in his last appearance in Toowoomba, for the Bulldogs and Brisbane a decade ago, while Tate won a Queensland Cup premiership playing for the Toowoomba Clydesdales before he broke through to top grade.
Tonight’s squad includes 12 players who were part of the historic NRL Auckland Nines victory at Eden Park on Sunday, while Scott Bolton, Glenn Hall, Ashton Sims, King and Wright back up from playing in the Northern Pride v Mackay Cutters trial in Townsville last Saturday night.
Tonight’s match at Clive Berghofer Oval kicks off at 6.30pm.
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North Queensland Toyota Cowboys: 1 Michael Morgan, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Brent Tate, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Johnathan Thurston, 7 Robert Lui, 8 Matt Scott, 9 Ray Thompson, 10 James Tamou, 11 Tariq Sims, 12 Jason Taumalolo, 13 Joel Riethmuller. Interchange: 14 Zac Santo, 15 Cameron King, 16 Glenn Hall, 17 Scott Bolton, 18 Ashton Sims, 19 Javid Bowen, 20 Matthew Wright.