Sport

Injury-plagued Cowboys suffer another setback

KNEE ISSUE: Te Maire Martin of the Cowboys has been ruled out of the clash with Penrith.
KNEE ISSUE: Te Maire Martin of the Cowboys has been ruled out of the clash with Penrith. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

COWBOYS playmaker Te Maire Martin's hopes of taking on his former side Penrith tonight have been crushed by a knee injury, with Kyle Laybutt to take his place for the crucial NRL clash.

Laybutt wasn't named in the initial 21-man squad on Tuesday, but the Cowboys have been granted dispensation by the NRL to play the 21-year-old after Martin succumbed to a minor knee injury he suffered against Melbourne last week.

It's another blow to an already injury-plagued Cowboys outfit fighting to cement a place in the finals after back-to-back losses.

Cowboys coach Paul Green said he may decide to start utility Ben Hampton in the halves and put Laybutt on the bench, after he performed strongly when moved to hooker by Townsville Blackhawks last week.

Rookie back-rower Patrick Mago also travelled with the squad to Penrith yesterday amid conjecture he is a chance to make his NRL debut, with Sam Hoare the man most likely to make way should it eventuate.

Green said Martin only had a low-grade medial ligament strain and looked set to play Cronulla next week.

But given key men Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Gavin Cooper and Antonio Winterstein are all sidelined, it wasn't worth taking the gamble at Penrith.

"The fact he probably wouldn't have trained until this morning, I chose earlier in the week (to scratch him) rather than risk not having a good preparation. It will put him in good stead for next week," Green said.

"He did it reasonably early in that second half and finished the half, which was a really good sign.

"We don't want to roll the dice at this stage of the year with players like that."

Laybutt made his debut this year in round 15 against Melbourne, and also played in the home win over Penrith the following week before returning to Queensland Cup.

Green said his versatility worked in his favour when giving him the nod.

"He actually had a bit of time at hooker too last week so that adds another string to his bow," Green said.

"He's a good defender and has a great pass, he's got the attributes to make a good utility player.

"He played Penrith last time so he shouldn't be overawed. The fact he's got his debut out of the way is a good thing so you're not going through all those nerves.

"It'll be either one (Hampton or Laybutt in the halves), if one doesn't start the other will be on the bench.

"I've got full confidence in Kyle otherwise I wouldn't pick him. I think he did a good job for us when he played NRL."

Green said he expected Panthers skipper Matt Moylan to play after missing two weeks with a hamstring injury.

It adds to the challenge for the depleted Cowboys, who could finish the round as low as eighth if they fail to beat Penrith.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  north queensland cowboys te maire martin



Possibility of rain in them thar clouds

There may be rain on our horizon.

While SE QLD gets a good soaking, NE NSW holds its breath

Police car latest victim when woman headbutts it

Police car became victim to woman's destructive nature.

Two women arrested by police for assault and destroying property

All the gigs you need to know about this week

ON STAGE: The Linelockers are a roots rockabilly and honky tonk trio from Lismore. Their grass roots approach to traditional rockabilly and honky tonk standards along with authentic original material are sure to keep that dance floor boppin'. At Evans Head Bowling Club this Saturday from 8pm.

From honky tonk tapping to milonga dancing

Local Partners

Wollongbar general store's doors to close today

PETROL and alcohol prices slashed as trading ceases.


First Falls tickets go on sale today

From Sydney, Jayde Lawe, Adam burns and his daughter Jayme Burns at Falls Festival Byron Bay 2016-17.

All the info you need to ensure you get your Falls tickets.

Singer scores date with Aida at the Beach

Camels have been cast in starring roles in Opera Australia's upcoming production of Aida.

Dunoon resident will perform at the upcoming Opera Australia show

Glenn goes up on Kinky Boots

ON STAGE: The Australian cast of the musical Kinky Boots. INSET: Glenn Butcher.

Former resident has one of the main roles in the upcoming QPAC show

Music in the air and talent everywhere

PASSION for music, art and drama was showcased by talented HSC students at the annual Rivers MADness performance.

Massive talent from little folk on show in Little Big Shots

Shane Jacobson hosts Little Big Shots.

Shane Jacobson has as much fun as his guests in new talent show.

‘I’m pissed off’: Bachelorette finally loses it

Matty is made take Elise on a date by her dad.

UNREST is brewing in the Bachelor mansion.

What's on the big screen this week

Domhnall Gleeson and Tom Cruise in a scene from American Made.

TOM Cruise is flying high in Doug Liman's drug drama American Made.

Fantasy world of dance and performance in Nimbin

LICENCE TO THRILL: Fantasies Erotique Cabaret this season will also feature beautiful rope art by Don Bozza as well as double pole act from the best dancers in the region. Photo: Donatella Parisini Photography

Rope art to feature at this years Fantasies Erotique Cabaret

Flume will welcome 2018 at Falls Byron Bay

Will Flume take out Triple J's Hottest 100 music poll this year?

Grammy Award-winner artist will take punters into the new year

Forum to discuss unfair rental laws

Toowoomba. South Toowoomba. Real estate. Property July 2017

Across the Northern Rivers nearly a third of people are renting

Nasty cocktail of mortgage stress just 0.5% away

MORTGAGE STRESS: High cost of living and household debt mean even a tiny rate rise could push households in the 2480 postcode into mortgage stress and face a potential foreclosure.

Home owners in 2480 postcode facing mortgage stress threat

199 home sites approved in Evans Head

The Evans Head Manufactured Home Estate plans. Zoran Architecture.

Manufactured Home estate approved near aerodrome