By Dylan Morris, North Queensland Correspondent, NRL.com
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys' Round 25 game against the Wests Tigers is their best opportunity to seal a place in the finals, but with an injury cloud hanging over several key players, victory against the 15th placed Tigers is far from guaranteed.
With a huge home game against the Brisbane Broncos in Round 26 the importance of using the game against the Tigers to ensure they get to play come September is amplified.
In the last four weeks the Cowboys' effort has been near-flawless according to coach Paul Green, but the man who has never missed a finals series as head coach has acknowledged that they need to nail their execution if they're to beat the Tigers.
"It's probably what we haven’t done in recent weeks, we’ve competed really well, we need to bring that with us, we've been tough and we've been brave and all that sort of stuff but at the end of the day there have been some simple errors and we haven't executed when we've needed to," Green said.
The fitness of Gavin Cooper and Lachlan Coote is very much in doubt, although they have travelled to Sydney and a decision will be made on whether they and several other players will take the field when they are assessed on Friday morning.
As such the final 17 for the Cowboys is still in doubt, but a return of Cooper and Coote would be a huge bonus for the side.
"I don't know, honestly I don't know. We're taking 20 so it depends on how everyone gets through the flight, and we'll see how they pull up tomorrow," Green said.
"They trained well, they got through the whole session … all indications at this stage are good but we've still got to get through a flight, get over today's session and make sure they pull up alright."
Captain Michael Morgan is hopeful both Cooper and Coote will return, and spoke highly of what they brought to the Cowboys.
"[Cooper] just brings a level head, he's someone who, at the moment with the team we've got in, he'll bring us a lot of confidence with his leadership and his talk and his organisation, pretty much the same as 'Cootie'" Morgan said.
"If they're both back then it's great, if we get one then we'll take him, but hopefully at least one of them will be there."
First published on NRL.com.