Bowen comeback shot down by Cowboys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bowen comeback shot down by Cowboys

By Laine Clark 23/06/2009 08:06:00 PM Comments (0)

Speculation that fullback Matt Bowen could return for North Queensland against the Bulldogs on Friday night has been quashed by the Cowboys.

It was hardly music to the ears of a North Queensland outfit still reeling from news that form centre Ash Graham could be ruled out for up to six weeks with a foot injury suffered in the gutsy last round win over the Sydney Roosters.

If that was not bad enough, former Test forward Carl Webb is racing the clock to recover from an ankle injury for the weekend Sydney showdown.

Graham showed true grit to finish the match in Townsville last Saturday night as North Queensland went some way to ending talk that they could not win without their talisman Johnathan Thurston, on Origin duty.

While Graham underwent scans on Tuesday, Cowboys assistant Mick Crawley said results would not be known until another 24 hours.

"He's definitely out this week and it looks like it might be a couple of weeks," he said.

The dead-panned assistant to Neil Henry also tried to play down Graham's heroics.

"Unfortunately when you are playing in the outside backs it's nearly what we require each week," he said of Graham's heroics in only North Queensland's fifth win in 19 games without Thurston.

"Because most teams don't carry outside backs on their bench ... but he (Graham) did a good job for us."

The Cowboys have slotted Ben Harris into the centres and are keeping their fingers crossed that three-quarter Willie Tonga emerges unscathed from his first Origin game for Queensland in five years against NSW at Sydney on Wednesday night.

Crawley said there were contingencies in place if their worst nightmare was realised and Tonga failed to back up from Origin II.

"We've got Ben Harris who played very well for us in the centres last week, and obviously Ty has played a bit there and we were going to play John (Williams) there (in the past)," he said.

North Queensland retained Ty Williams at fullback despite talk that Bowen could return earlier than expected after being cleared of broken ribs.

He may be officially rated a "week-to-week proposition" with damaged rib cartilage by the Cowboys medical staff but Crawley painted a more grim picture after announcing a 20-man squad for the Bulldogs showdown.

"It was four weeks to start with. He is able to run but he can't get hit so it might be a little while," he said.

Crawley was much more positive about Webb's fitness battle.

"Carl had an injury on the weekend. He did weights and everything yesterday and he is getting around alright today - it's pretty much just wait and see to see how he pulls up," he said.

Crawley said North Queensland (5th; 8-6) have backed themselves to cause an upset over the second placed Bulldogs (10-3) following centre Jamal Idris' serious elbow injury.

"Jamal Idris is hurt for them - that's one of their form centres gone," he said.

"So they are in a similar position to us.

"And they have got two players backing up from Origin to our three so it should be a good contest."

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