Lewis, not Petero, Cowboys' focus - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lewis, not Petero, Cowboys' focus

Laine Clark 26/07/2011 06:44:01 PM Comments (0)

The hot topic may have been Petero Civoniceva, but it will be his Penrith teammate Luke Lewis who preoccupies North Queensland ahead of their NRL clash on Saturday night.

Cowboys coach Neil Henry said he expected Civoniceva's shock call to return to the Broncos next year to "galvanise" the Panthers.

However, Henry claimed he was more wary of Lewis returning from a shoulder injury for the Townsville clash.

"He's the key. He's a tremendous player, dangerous carrying the ball - he commands the football," Henry said on Tuesday.

"He's an Origin player.

"We expect him to play and will make a big difference."

Of course, Civoniceva was still a major talking point ahead of the game.

"The way it has been announced today maybe something has been on the cards for a while - Petero's obviously been thinking about it," Henry said.

"But he's a professional - his leadership will still be there.

"It might even consolidate their resolve.

"I don't expect it to affect them too much - I expect it to galvanise them."

Henry could thank Civoniceva for highlighting a major flaw in their quest for a top-four finish.

The big prop turned back the clock the last time the two sides clashed last month, putting on a big step to score under the posts and set up a 30-20 win over the Cowboys.

"He showed what he could do the big man and planted the ball under the posts - we remember that game, it wasn't that long ago," Henry said.

"I would like to think we have improved a bit (since then).

"But if we are going to be a team that is seriously going to challenge the top three teams that is going to be one area we have to work on - our defensive work, our commitment to the tackle.

"We have shown some big hits but overall we are still leaking too many points.

"There needs to be an improvement over the last six games of the season if we are going into the finals series confident in our ability to defend teams."

Meanwhile, Henry was confident co-captain Matt Scott would overcome a back complaint and run out against the Panthers.

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