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Dragons confident in depth

Steve Jancetic 07/05/2011 02:15:11 PM Comments (0)

With ten players involved in Friday night's representative fixtures, St George Illawarra hooker Nathan Fien concedes he has no idea what the side will look like when the Dragons take on North Queensland at WIN Jubilee Oval on Sunday.

Fien is one several players in doubt for the match against one of his former clubs, with the dummy half having spent much of the week struggling with a hamstring injury before taking his place in New Zealand's Test side on Friday night.

His Kiwi teammate Jason Nightingale would also be at long odds to back up after landing awkwardly on his neck when flipped by Australian centre Jamal Idris in an incident which went unpunished by match reviewers.

Country Origin five-eighth Jamie Soward will also be a spectator after suffering groin and hamstring injuries, the heavy casualty toll forcing Dragons coach Wayne Bennett to dig deep into his reserves to come up with a side capable of toppling a Cowboys side which has been in hot form to start the season.

"We've got great depth there, so any injuries that we get over the weekend we'll be able to cover," said Fien.

"We've got a lot of faith in our depth, we've had players that have been able to come in and do a role, we'll be depending on those guys because we're going to be missing a few later in the year with the State of Origin as well.

"We had ten players involved (on Friday night), all the other boys were back in Wollongong training hard, they're ready to take the field if required."

Soward's injury and the likely unavailability of Fien mean youngster Kyle Stanley will probably line up at five-eighth, having already been named at fullback to cover for the injured Darius Boyd.

Bronx Goodwin and Peni Tagive will be favoured to be called-up in the outside backs, while Mitch Rein will back-up hooker Dean Young if Fien is unable to go around again.

"It's not a bad one," Fien said of his hamstring injury, which he's carried for a few weeks.

"I've never really had a hammy problem before, it's quite foreign to me and I'm really just trying to go with what medical staff are trying to say to me.

"I got through the majority of the game, but I'm definitely not 100 per cent, we'll just have to weigh up where we go on Sunday."

Australian backrower Ben Creagh said he would be a definite starter, as will Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston who spoke of his strong desire to back-up.

"It's tough, no doubt about that, but I love playing Test football, I love the week and I love preparing for the game," Thurston said.

"(Test skipper Darren Lockyer) said to us as a group when I first started coming through 'Rep players pride themselves on backing up for their club', that's certainly what I want to do.

"It's a big game for us, they're the benchmark of the competition, it's going to be a real good test for us to see where we're at as a team against the competition leaders."

Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott will also play despite struggling to get on the field against the Kiwis on Friday night due to an ankle injury.

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