Melbourne might be missing Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk but North Queensland coach Paul Green expects a tough NRL clash with the Storm.
Despite the absence of their big three, there’s no way Melbourne can be taken lightly according to North Queensland coach Paul Green.
The Cowboys host the Storm in Saturday night’s round-12 NRL clash knowing Cooper Cronk (arm), Billy Slater (shoulder) and Cameron Smith (ankle) are all out of the clash.
The Queensland trio all picked up injuries in Wednesday’s brutal State of Origin opener in Brisbane, leaving the Storm with plenty of holes to fill.
With back-up halves Cody Walker and Joel Romelo also injured and Ben Hampton suspended, Storm coach Craig Bellamy will be scratching his head trying to patch together a team.
Ryan Hinchcliffe could move into Smith’s spot at hooker while Cameron Munster and Mahe Fonua might come into the reshuffled backline for the visitors.
Green believes regardless of who the Storm do eventually pick, it’ll be far from a walk in the park for the Cowboys.
“They’ve got a history, despite who’s in or out with their team. They always get out there and have a go,” Green said.
“Regardless of who pulls their jersey on, they’re a proud club and they’ll play well.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go.”
The Cowboys’ Origin quartet of Brent Tate, Johnathan Thurston, James Tamou and Matt Scott are all fit to play despite carrying some bumps and bruises from Wednesday’s game.
“We go into the weekend trying to win the game,” Green said.
“If you get an opportunity to try and lighten the load on those guys … of course I’ve got that in the back of my mind.
“They’re going to go out and try to win the game as well.”
The Cowboys head into the clash 11th on the ladder following last week’s loss to Canberra while the Storm had won their past two before having the bye last weekend.