The Toyota Cowboys’ 2015 pre-season took another step forward today with the official return of co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott as well as one of North Queensland’s best players in season 2014, centre Matthew Wright.
The trio came back in fine shape, progressing strongly through a two-hour skills and conditioning session at the Townsville Sports Reserve in the morning before hitting the weights in the Cowboys HQ gym in the afternoon.
Four Nations representatives Jason Taumalolo, Antonio Winterstein and Tautau Moga are now the only Cowboys missing from the 31-strong NRL squad.
Coach Paul Green said Wright’s suspension following the ASADA investigation, which cost him an appearance in the NRL finals series and a Four Nations jersey for Samoa, had been a "particularly tough" time for the young player.
“I’m sure he’ll feel much better being back around the boys and being back in training,” Green said.
“I think it will definitely be a load off his mind now that it’s done and dusted and he’s paid his penalty.
“He can put that part behind him now and focus on next season which I think will be a good thing for him.”
A late signing for 2014, Wright has yet to do a pre-season with the Cowboys, but he has very little catch-up work to do this time even though he’s started two weeks behind the rest of the main group.
He trained with former Cowboy Daniel Strickland during his suspension to ensure he would return in good shape.
“He’s in really good condition,” Green said.
“I think the enforced break gave him an opportunity to work on some speed stuff and hopefully that will transfer into some speed on the field as well.”