Rookie forwards Sam Hoare and Ben Spina are poised to make their NRL debuts for North Queensland against St George Illawarra at WIN Jubilee Oval tomorrow.
Coach Paul Green today hinted that he had included the duo in his final squad of 17 which will not be revealed publicly until an hour before kick off.
Hoare, 22, is a former Rockhampton Brothers junior who was part of the gun Cowboys NYC squad that made the grand final in 2011, while Spina is the son of North Queensland’s inaugural captain Laurie Spina.
The 26-year-old played his junior football with the Herbert River Crushers and has been starring for the Northern Pride in the Intrust Super Cup.
“Ben’s been playing well for the Pride for a number of weeks and given the injury we had to Joel Riethmuller, that’s given Ben his opportunity,” coach Paul Green said today.
“He can play anywhere in the middle there. He’s been doing a good job for Cairns so I expect him to do the same for us when he gets his opportunity.”
Hoare has been 18th man for the Cowboys on three times this season and finally gets his chance due to the absence of State of Origin props James Tamou and Matt Scott.
“Sam’s been in our system for quite a while – a few years now,” Green said.
“He’s worked hard and deserves his chance. It’s up to Sam now. He’s been given his opportunity and it’s up to him to take it.”