Cowboys put faith in youth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys put faith in youth

By Wayne Heming 30/03/2010 08:23:24 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland coach Neil Henry has taken a punt on youth with teenagers Ray Thompson and Will Tupou handed their NRL starting debuts for Saturday's clash with Gold Coast at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

After three average games, Henry has sacked first-choice five-eighth Grant Rovelli and given 19-year-old Thompson his big opportunity in a daunting clash against the representative No.6 Greg Bird.

Tupou, who is also 19 and a member of the Cowboys unbeaten under 20s side, has been selected on the wing.

Thompson, who has plenty of admirers, played 20 minutes of NRL football for the Cowboys against the Roosters in the final round of 2009.

"Ray is still learning so we'll give him a bit of time," Henry said.

"(But if) Rav's (Rovelli) goes back to the Queensland Cup and is dominant then he stakes his claim straight away.

"I'm not saying Ray is the long-term answer, but he certainly gets his chance and he's a player of the future.

"JT (Johnathan Thurston) commands most of the ball, but he'll need to be a foil for him.

"We've got every confidence in Ray. He's a very good defence player, he's got a nice touch with his kick and the emphasis we've really got is to defend on that edge.

"He's got a job do to there, he'll have (Greg) Bird hovering around so it's a big ask."

The Titans have also been forced to makes changes at the scrum base with pint-sized Preston Campbell pulling on the No.7 for Scott Prince (thumb) No.7 jumper and William Zillman playing fullback.

Bird, suffering from general soreness after a tough clash with Canberra, failed to complete training on he Gold Coast on Tuesday but is not in any doubt for the game while the Titans will have lock Ashley Harrison back in their pack.

Meanwhile, journeyman halfback Tim Smith is set to make his NRL comeback inside Trent Barrett in the halves for Cronulla against his former club Parramatta on Saturday as the Sharks try to avoid their 14th straight loss.

Smith, who's been playing for Brisbane Easts in the Queensland Cup and training with the Broncos, was only signed by the Sharks this week.

South Sydney, finally with the monkey off their back, welcome intimidator Michael Crocker back in timely boost for their clash with the Bulldogs, who also opened their 2009 account by piling 60 points on the Roosters last weekend.

After blowing two big leads and finally getting across the line last weekend, an unchanged Manly strike a weakened Warriors, who'll miss the input of skipper Simon Mannering and fearsome winger Manu Vatuvei, both sidelined with hamstring injuries.

Wayne Bennett's St George Illawarra defend their impressive unbeaten start to the season against reigning premiers Melbourne, glad to see bruising Kiwi international Adam Blair back from suspension to stiffen the middle corridor against the likes of Michael Weyman and Ben Creagh.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news