Matt Scott and Gavin Cooper have combined to destroy Gold Coast 28-8 on return from injury in their NRL clash in Townsville.
The old saying goes ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’.
And the hapless Gold Coast found out exactly what North Queensland have been missing with the Cowboys rolling out two of their biggest weapons in their 28-8 thrashing of the Titans in Townsville.
Co-captain Matt Scott (fractured cheekbone) and barnstorming second rower Gavin Cooper (dislocated hip) had been sidelined for a combined 19 NRL matches this season.
Both made statements in their return, combining for 321 metres.
Scott’s efforts included 176m, 24 tackles and four tackle breaks while Cooper scored a try by reigniting his combination with Johnathan Thurston and hitting gaps off his skipper’s hip.
All while coming back early from an injury regarded as one of the most painful in professional sport.
“Coops was outstanding out there tonight, coming back a week early from a pretty major injury,” Cowboys coach Paul Green said.
“It shows he’s pretty committed to what we want to do this year.
“He’s professional, committed, cares about the club.”
But Cooper had the perfect distraction for the pain, the birth of his son Archie.
“I had something to take my mind off it, I was expecting a young one,” he said.
“There’s worse things out there.
“There were a few boys who did some real serious injuries around my time.
“There was light at the end of tunnel for me.
“Hopefully now I will get six games before the end of the season and we will see where we are sitting.”
Scott is not the most patient bloke in the injury ward and said he had been champing at the bit to return.
“It’s always hard sitting on the sideline,” he said.
“An injury like I had too I felt fine, I felt like I should have been out there, but obviously it was too risky.
“I’m just happy to be back and coming into a side that’s been improving.
“We’ve played really well over the last couple of weeks so it was a good game to come back to tonight.”
Titans coach John Cartwright was left to lament ill discipline from his side that saw an 8-0 lead flipped into a 28-8 loss, a defeat that has likely ended the club’s hopes of making the top eight.
“A bit of frustration set in and discipline went out the window a bit in the second half,” he said.
“You would like to see that aggression and energy but it’s got to be within the scope of the game.
“We probably had stages where we were a little bit over the top.”