North Queensland fullback Lachlan Coote has inched closer to making his NRL season debut after returning to training with the team on Monday.
Coote has yet to appear this season after suffering a hamstring injury in the pre-season that has forced coach Paul Green to deploy utility Ben Hampton at fullback with mixed results.
The Cowboys have won just one of their first three games ahead of Thursday’s match against Penrith, but co-captain Matt Scott said the squad was lifted by Coote’s return to the paddock.
“He’s had a frustrating start to the year. Very disruptive for him and I’m glad to see him back on the field. I can’t wait until he’s back on the field properly,” Scott told reporters on Monday.
Scott said the side had missed Coote’s organisational play at the back.
“His positional play is one of the better fullbacks I’ve seen, in terms of being in a position to get the ball on the full,” Scott said.
“His line organisation at the back is great also, probably a bit more experienced at that than someone like Benny. He’s just a very reliable figure at the back there.”
Scott also admitted star five-eighth Michael Morgan was still being hampered by an abdominal strain that kept him on the shelf for the first two games of the year.
He said it could more time for their attack to find some rhythm, with co-captain Johnathan Thurston also three games into his return from a shoulder reconstruction.
“It’s again been a bit disruptive through the pre-season and I think that groin still gives him a little bit of pain,” Scott said of Morgan.
“It might take him a couple of games to find his feet but I thought he was pretty strong.”
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