Webb in doubt for Cowboys' opener - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Webb in doubt for Cowboys' opener

By Jim Morton 10/03/2010 08:37:21 PM Comments (0)

The pressure on Willie Mason to make an instant impact in his Cowboys debut has risen with Carl Webb set to miss Friday night's NRL blockbuster against Brisbane.

Webb trained with North Queensland's 19-man squad on Wednesday afternoon but a small calf tear is still plaguing the bulldozing Queensland Origin forward.

Even if scans give him the all-clear Webb is behind the eight-ball to play in the season-opener at Suncorp Stadium after missing the Cowboys' last trial against Gold Coast in Darwin.

Controversial recruit Mason made the most of his outing against the Titans with a display that helped gain a place on the bench to play the Broncos

Brisbane officials expect a near-capacity crowd at the 52,500-seat venue to give Mason a stirring welcome but Cowboys boss Peter Parr is confident the polarising Roosters signing will impress.

"He's been very good for us around the club, he's been particularly good at training and he was very good against the Titans in Darwin a couple of weeks ago," Parr said.

"Hopefully that will all translate with a good performance on Friday night."

An excited Mason is lapping up the challenge of breaking into a quality NQ pack that also boasts Matt Scott, Luke O'Donnell, Antonio Kaufusi and Steve Rapira.

"It's good, it breeds a lot of competitiveness at training, everyone wants to beat each other and I think that brings the best out in forward packs," Mason told the Townsville Bulletin.

The former Test and NSW forward admitted he had struggled with his fitness in a rocky pre-season which saw him join NQ late and have just two team training sessions before his first trial against the NZ Warriors.

"It was a bit hard (coming in late)," he said. "I've just made sure that I've been really working hard at training because I think that's where you get most of your fitness.

"If you're working hard at training it seems to come pretty natural on the field, the second trial was a lot better, it felt a lot more natural, I just can't wait."

Despite the Cowboys holding favouritism and the Broncos fielding a youthful squad, Parr denied his club were now the big brothers in their relationship.

"I think the Broncos are still the benchmark as far as I'm concerned," he said.

"I don't think we see them as the big brothers that they used to be but we certainly still see them as the benchmark of the competition."

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