Cows' sweating on Payne easing Test losses - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cows' sweating on Payne easing Test losses

Liam Butterworth 01/05/2011 12:09:43 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland will be sweating on the results of tests on Aaron Payne's injured arm, with the hooker a chance of missing next weekend's NRL clash against St George Illawarra.

With co-captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston to be backing up from Friday's Test on the Gold Coast, Payne's experience would be sorely missed against the defending champions.

Payne struggled through the first half and missed the second 40 minutes of the Cowboys two-point victory against Manly on Saturday night.

Coach Neil Henry Henry said the long-time Cowboys servant was missed as the Sea Eagles mounted a comeback.

"He's been in good form for us and he was playing some good footy in the first half and we were a little disjointed without him in the second," he said.

The Cowboys fears of missing Payne eased slightly on Sunday morning, but Henry said tests would show whether the hooker would be out for a couple of weeks.

"We thought initially he'd torn a muscle in his arm but it could be a nerve problem so if it's that, he's a chance of playing against the Dragons," Henry said.

"If it's muscular damage, he's got a tear, I imagine he'll be out for a couple of weeks."

With back-up hooker James Segeyaro missing from the bench on Saturday night, Henry said the Cowboys were proving they could cover missing players with five-eighth Ray Thompson filling in at No.9.

The Cowboys are likely to make a final decision on Payne's fitness by Tuesday.

"He did a fine job there (Thompson) and defended out on that edge and we were a bit disjointed, but I thought he did a good job bringing the big boys onto the ball," Henry said.

"It just meant that we didn't have a break in defending and he (Ray) had to play dummy half in attack which meant we had to rely on Johnathan (Thurston) and Matty Bowen to play the other link roles to get the ball out and it worked out okay."

If Payne is to miss any matches, it could see Segeyaro move into the starting line-up, or see Ben Jones return to first grade.

The Cowboys and St George Illawarra will have plenty of players backing up from the Test and the City v Country representative matches next Friday.

Henry said a move for a break in regular-season competition games on representative weekends could be the way to go in the future.

"It's going to be tough but St George are going to be in the same boat, they'll have a couple of players playing for New Zealand and they'll have a number of players playing the City v Country game," he said.

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