North Queensland Toyota Cowboys coach Paul Green has confirmed his replacements for injured State of Origin duo Matt Scott and Brent Tate for the Monday Night Football clash with Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.
John Asiata, who made his NRL debut for the Cowboys against Parramatta at Pirtek Stadium in round 13, will come into the squad of 17 for Scott (fractured cheekbone) and will sit on the interchange bench.
There’s no word yet on whether Glenn Hall or Jason Taumalolo will be promoted to the starting pack.
Curtis Rona will return to the Cowboys backline on the wing for the first time since the Canberra game in round 11 with Matthew Wright to switch to Tate’s right centre position.
The Origin centre does not have a confirmed date for his knee reconstruction surgery yet.
Sam Hoare and Anthony Mitchell travelled south with the squad to Newcastle today as the round 15 standby players.
“We’ve had a really good week at training,” Green said today.
“I think the boys are feeling the benefits of having that weekend off.
“It’s been a good week of prep so hopefully that translates into a good performance on Monday night.”
With a lengthy injury list, and two other Origin players in Johnathan Thurston and James Tamou backing up from game two last Wednesday, Green has put the onus on his remaining experienced players to step up against Newcastle.
“There’s quite a few guys there who have played 60-plus games now.
“They’re not rookies anymore and it’s time for those guys to stand up.”
Green said he was sure Thurston, who received a cork above his left knee, would be ready to go on Monday night.