Cowboys not worried about 'occasion' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys not worried about 'occasion'

Laine Clark 11/08/2011 07:14:48 PM Comments (0)

Perhaps the only Queenslanders not talking about Broncos captain Darren Lockyer's record 350th NRL game are the Cowboys, or so they claim.

But one Brisbane player has been on North Queensland's lips ahead of Friday night's blockbuster due to his absence - injured prop Ben Hannant.

Lockyer's record may be the hottest topic in rugby league but Cowboys assistant coach Mick Crawley reckoned no one at his club had spoken about it.

Asked if there was a fear the Cowboys would be overawed by the occasion in front of a sell-out crowd, Crawley said on Thursday: "We have not spoken about Darren Lockyer other than what he can produce on the football field.

"The occasion for him, it is not what we have spoken about.

"It is a big game for our boys as well.

"Leading into the semis with three games to go obviously the boys want to build confidence.

"It's been a goal of ours all year to be good at home - this is a good opportunity for the boys in front of a full house."

Hannant - not considered due to a hip injury - has been mentioned, though.

Josh McGuire will take Hannant's starting spot in the front row - much to returning Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott's disappointment.

"Obviously he (Hannant) plays good minutes for them - he's one of their forward leaders so they will miss him," Crawley said.

"Same as we missed Matty Scott last week.

"I think Matty was pretty keen playing on Ben Hannant - he's a little bit disappointed."

The tug of war in the forwards will be crucial but the backline battle should also turn heads - the Cowboys' Willie Tonga and Brent Tate against Justin Hodges and Jack Reed, in particular.

"Willie Tonga and Justin Hodges always have a good tussle," Crawley said.

"For Brent Tate, since he has been back in his couple of games (from knee injury) he has had Chris Lawrence and Michael Jennings and he has been able to do a job on all those guys.

"So I think he will worry Reed."

Crawleyconfirmed injured hooker Aaron Payne could be back within a fortnight after suffering a fractured eye socket in a freak collision with teammate Joel Riethmuller at training on Tuesday.

The likes of Ray Thompson and Matt Bowen could take turns at No.9 but Crawley backed James Segeyaro to do the bulk of the work.

Segeyaro will make his starting debut while Crawley also confirmed initial 18th man Cory Paterson would join Ashton Sims, Glenn Hall and Scott Bolton on the Cowboys bench.

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