In the interest of fairness, it seems only appropriate that four of the Melbourne Storm players be dinged to achieve equality with the North Queensland Cowboys, who have four battling to be firing for Sunday’s Grand Final of the Telstra 2017 NRL Premiership competition.
Coach Paul Green has ruled Co-captain Matt Scott out of the running, barring some unfortunate training mishaps to one of Scott’s teammates during the final week of preparation.
To some, Scott going missing was a bit of a shock, but it should be remembered that he is coming off an ACL rupture that occurred six months ago. Even with modern medical techniques and a cadre of expert rehabilitation experts, Scott, despite his obvious desire to be on the field, knows that reinjuring his ACL could call time on his career and cause permanent issues. He must weigh that with the fact that, at age 32, he might not again have an opportunity to play in an NRL Grand Final.
Green was unequivocal in his comments to the press. “I just want to clear the air. There has been a lot of speculation around Matt Scott,” Green said. The 17 guys that got us to grand final will be the 17 that play this weekend.”
The Cows also have doubts regarding the availability of Coen Hess and John Asiata, but Green feels that they will be able to contribute in the Cowboys’ second Grand Final in the past three seasons. Their presence would put a further damper on speculation that Scott will be rushed in.
The other two Cows that have been dealing with some issues, outside backs Antonio Winsterstein and Kyle Feldt, will enter the game knowing that they only need to last another 80 minutes, after which they can have a breather.
The Storm has had some minor injury issues, having lost Christian Welch, Cheyse Blair and Brodie Croft for the season. Jahrome Hughes is out for an undermined period, but apparently, judging from the outcome of the regular season and the finals thus far, the Storm has weathered all personnel challenges.