INJURY CLOUD: Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys is still recovering from a hamstring injury.
INJURY CLOUD: Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys is still recovering from a hamstring injury. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Thurston left out again by Cowboys

PAUL Green is not taking any chances with the club's superstar Johnathan Thurston, who was left out of his 17-man squad to play the Wests Tigers in a danger game at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

Tigers fans will be out in force to support their team against the side they beat in the 2005 grand final.

From all reports Thurston was close to fitness and wanted to play against Melbourne last weekend, only to have Green kibosh the bid because he wasn't prepared to take a risk with the game's best player.

Asked if fans were in for another week of "is he in or is he out?” speculation, Green said that was likely to be the case until Saturday when a final decision would be made.

"Yeah, he still has a few things to tick off before he is passed fit,” Green said.

"I could have named him and pulled him out and we could have gone through that, or I don't name him and bring him in late.

"I'm not prepared to take any unnecessary risks this close to the finals but he's not too far away.

"If it's not this week he will definitely be right to week after.”

"We've got a protocol. We will train again tomorrow and Friday and I will have a fair idea by Saturday.”

Tigers half Luke Brooks is in doubt for the clash, tossing up speculation Jason Taylor may be in a position to recall hooker Robbie Farah, but the New South Wales hooker is reportedly battling a leg injury.

Former Roosters junior and Manly cast-off Jack Littlejohn is likely to step in for Brooks, who along with Mitchell Moses have been outstanding in the halves for the 10th-placed Tigers, who will be looking to continue their push towards a top-eight spot.

"Brooks is a key player for them and he has been playing very well for them,” Green said.

"A lot of teams at this time of the year and a lot of teams we play with have that desperation. We definitely want to cement a top-four spot so it's important for us to be just as desperate.”

Green said Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt would provide a good experience playing in front of a vocal crowd.

He said while the Cowboys lost to Melbourne, they took a lot out of the game but their defence in keeping the Storm scoreless in the second half was a great effort.

"The defensive effort was enormous but the desperate and scramble to hold them out was outstanding,” he said.

Meanwhile the Cowboys have extended the contracts of Javid Bowen and forward Sam Hoare until the end of the 2018 season.

"The re-signings of these two players who came through our pathways program gives us a really strong platform for the future,” North Queensland general manager of football Peter Parr said.


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