Already rocked by the loss of three players to Origin duty and co-captain Matt Scott to suspension, North Queensland have been dealt further bad news with Scott Bolton under an injury cloud.
The Cowboys were forced to make significant changes due to having three players in the Queensland State of Origin camp - Gavin Cooper, Coen Hess and Michael Morgan.
And with Scott being unsuccessful at Tuesday night's judiciary hearing, they will have to make another change to their team before their Thursday night's road game against Manly.
Adding to the list of potential problems is uncertainty over Bolton's fitness - the veteran forward missed training on Monday due to a knock on the ribs but will have Wednesday's session to test if he is fit to play against the Sea Eagles.
It’s not all bad news for the Cowboys, with Morgan's recent move to fullback their halves combination has remained unchanged over the Origin period for the first time in over a decade with Te Maire Martin and Johnathan Thurston lining up at six and seven.
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Lachlan Coote and Ethan Lowe are making their return to first grade, and coach Paul Green said the ball was in their court to show they deserve to be in the top 17.
"We need to win games and to do that you need to pick your form players, so [Coote] has got another opportunity so the ball is in his court," Green said.
"I would like to think [they have a point to prove], hopefully they're clear on why they weren't included in the team a couple of weeks ago and now is their opportunity."
Green has confidence his players will be eager to take the field even if they're in pain, based on their experience last year when players like Bolton and Shaun Fensom played through injury and sickness for the stretched Cowboys.
"Last year in particular guys really did put their bodies on the line for the team so I don't think that's ever in question with our group," he said.
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