Wounded Cowboys take another hit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wounded Cowboys take another hit

By Jim Morton 15/06/2011 05:22:42 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland's centre crisis has worsened with luckless Cowboys' recruit Antonio Winterstein ruled out for the rest of the NRL season.

Scans on Wednesday confirmed the Kiwi international would require surgery after badly tearing his pectoral muscle in Saturday night's 24-4 loss to Manly.

The former Broncos' flyer joins a long backline injury list at the Cowboys, with fellow Test centres Willie Tonga and Brent Tate, winger Michael Bani and fullback Shannon Gallant also sidelined.

Foreshadowed as an area of strength for the club, coach Neil Henry has been forced to get creative in his backline due to the problems.

Backrower Gavin Cooper will play his third match this season in the centres against the Warriors on Saturday night, while former Roosters' utility Ben Jones has been called up from feeder club Mackay Cutters.

Henry wouldn't rush Tate's recovery from his knee reconstruction, but round 18 - his and Tonga's likely return - couldn't come soon enough as his centre depth had taken a massive hit.

"It's been eroded for sure," he said.

"We've had to be a bit creative there - Ben Jones, slotting him out there and (18th man) Will Tupou's out there as well.

"I've thought Coops, Gavin, has made a good fist of it out on the left edge as well.

"(But) we don't need that to happen. We're going to have to rotate people around and try and get results until Tonga and Tate come back."

Winterstein's injury, suffered in the second half as he failed to stop Steve Matai scoring at Brookvale Oval, continues his horror debut season in Townsville.

His woes started in the pre-season, breaking his jaw against Brisbane in Alice Springs, forcing him to miss the first five rounds.

The Warriors have named former Parramatta star Krisnan Inu in the centres for the first time, after moving Lewis Brown onto the bench.

The Cowboys will also be without second-rower Glenn Hall (suspension), while Cory Paterson remains a fortnight away after undergoing knee surgery following his mid-season transfer from the Knights.

Henry has also given workaholic lock Dallas Johnson a chance to freshen up and overcome his war wounds by resting him from training on Monday and Tuesday.

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