Cowboy Coote’s nervous wait
THE Cowboys insist they have not put a line through Lachlan Coote despite the premiership-winning fullback fearing he will be pushed out of North Queensland.
Coote remains without a contract for 2019 nearing the halfway point of the season following North Queensland's shocking start to the year.
The 28-year-old played a crucial role in North Queensland's historic maiden NRL premiership in 2015 and helped the Cowboys to last year's fairytale grand final appearance.
A hamstring injury derailed his start to the season and Coote was relegated to the Intrust Super Cup upon his return as coach Paul Green opted for Ben Hampton in the No.1 jersey.
Coote's form has been patchy since returning to the NRL in Round 6 and the Cowboys have not offered him a new deal ahead of tomorrow's clash against the in-form Rabbitohs at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Despite the contract stalemate, Cowboys football boss Peter Parr insisted the club had not ruled out retaining Coote.
"We have never said to Lachlan that there has been a line put through him," he said.
"He has been very good for the club. He has played in two grand finals since he's been here.
"He had a disrupted start to the year with a hamstring injury. We agreed we would let him play some footy and then discuss it, and we haven't had that discussion yet."
Coote left Penrith for North Queensland at the end of 2013, but missed the entire 2014 NRL season after suffering a knee injury at the Auckland Nines.
His first playing season with the Cowboys resulted in the 2015 title heading to Townsville and he was on the verge of quitting the club for the Roosters in 2016 before having an eleventh-hour change of heart.
With a left-foot kicking game and 162 NRL appearances, Coote is a talented fullback and an asset when at full fitness.
Coote admitted he was uncertain about his future but hoped to remain at the Cowboys.
"I'm not too sure what's going on," he said.
"I have put things on hold a bit. I had some injuries early in the year and I'm trying to focus on playing some good footy now. Hopefully I can play some footy and it will take care of itself.
"At this point, my preference is to stay here. It's been an awesome move coming to Townsville but I understand how it works, and whatever happens happens. I'll just try to do what I do best.
"I think there is a bit of interest but there hasn't been any actual offers.
"With our start to the year and my start to the year, it hasn't helped. I need to get back to playing well.
"I'm not panicking at the moment but I haven't been in this position before, so hopefully we can sort it out."
Coote said his preference was to remain in the NRL rather than head overseas to the Super League.
"It would be hard to go to England. I've got a young family and don't want to move them over there yet," he said.
"I'd like to stay in Australia as long as I can. It's a bit too early at the moment.
"I think I bring a lot of energy around the ball and supporting play. I also have a left-foot kicking game and experience comes with age, so hopefully that will get me a new deal somewhere.
"It's good to be back in the team and I am finding my feet again, getting the kicking game back on point again."