North Qld's Paterson fasts during Ramadan - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North Qld's Paterson fasts during Ramadan

Laine Clark 02/08/2011 05:57:10 PM Comments (0)

So far, so good for Cory Paterson after the North Queensland backrower this week became only the second NRL player to fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

Cowboys coach Neil Henry said Paterson - who recently converted to Islam - was holding up well despite not being able to eat or drink during daylight hours in tropical Townsville.

"It's a challenge for him, but he is not going to do anything that will compromise his preparation," Henry said on Tuesday.

"We will have to look at hydration implications, but he has assured us there is some flexibility in what he can or can't do and has assured us that he will be right."

Henry admitted Paterson was in a "unique situation" but added: "each to his own.

"I am not sure when he converted but that's the stance he has made and we support that as a club.

"He's assured us he is focused on his football.

"He has been performing well for the club so we don't see it being a problem.

"It's his choice. He wanted to keep it fairly quiet, but now he has been pretty open about it and we will support his choice."

The in-form forward let the cat out of the bag when he tweeted on Sunday about his upcoming fast.

The 24-year-old - who has not fasted before - has been updating followers daily on his progress.

On Tuesday, Paterson tweeted: "Going to continue to do what I do and what makes me happy. Salaams".

Paterson added on Monday: "Day 1 and feeling good. Looking forward to the nxt (sic) 30 days".

Henry said former Bulldogs points machine Hazem El Masri had already shown that footballers could negotiate Ramadan successfully.

"Hazem El Masri was born a Muslim and played a wonderful career - it's his (Paterson's) choice of faith, and we support that," he said.

Meanwhile, Henry hoped to officially end months of talks and confirm star fullback Matt Bowen had re-signed with the club "in the next week".

The former Queensland State of Origin flyer is expected to sign on until the end of the 2013 season.

"It's close. We expect something in the next week," Henry said of Bowen.

"There are only a couple of minor things to look at - hopefully, it will be settled soon."

And Henry said recovering halfback Johnathan Thurston was still on track for a next round return from a knee injury against the Broncos in Townsville - a week earlier than expected.

"Progress has been good. We are aiming for the Broncos game but there is no pressure on Johnathan to play in that game," he said.

"Fingers crossed he will be right for that game but, if not, the week after."

In other news, winger Kalifa Faifai Loa faces a fitness test to overcome a hamstring complaint for the third-placed Cowboys' Friday night clash with the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

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