Returning North Queensland Toyota Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein is relishing once again taking on the league’s best as he looks to contain Sydney Roosters giant Blake Ferguson in Saturday night’s Round 21 blockbuster at Allianz Stadium.
The durable veteran, 29, will return to action on Saturday night after missing the team’s Round 20 win over the New Zealand Warriors with a calf strain.
It will the third time this season that Winterstein has been wounded – he missed the opening match of the season versus Canberra with an ankle injury picked up in a pre-season trial; and he broke his arm in his return match versus the Broncos, keeping him on the sidelines for a further five matches.
But declaring himself right to go on Saturday night, the softly spoken Samoan skipper said he was ready to take on Ferguson – who has crossed for nine tries in 14 matches in 2017 – on the Cowboys’ left-edge.
“That’s what you play for, to test yourself against the best in the league, and Blake’s one of the best in his position,” Winterstein said.
“He’s big, fast and strong, he’s a rep player, but these are the great challenges you want to embrace.”
Winterstein’s left-edge combination with long-time centre partner Kane Linnett will be crucial on Saturday night as the pair look to stifle Ferguson and centre Joseph Manu.
On the other side of the paddock, winger Kyle Feldt and centre Justin O’Neill have the unenviable task of defending strike centre Latrell Mitchell and Daniel Tupou, the duo having scored 18 tries between them this year.
Saturday 29 July, Allianz Stadium
Gates open: 5pm / NYC: 5.15pm / NRL: 7.30pm