Cowboys rest Origin representatives Robson, Taulagi

Jasper Bruce |

NSW hooker Reece Robson will miss the Cowboys clash after pulling up with a sore neck after Origin.
NSW hooker Reece Robson will miss the Cowboys clash after pulling up with a sore neck after Origin.

North Queensland will rest Reece Robson and Murray Taulagi from round 14 after the pair pulled up sore following the State of Origin series opener.

But the Cowboys will wait until closer to Saturday night’s home game against the Warriors to determine whether Jeremiah Nanai, Reuben Cotter, Tom Dearden and Val Holmes can back up from Wednesday night’s Origin I.

All four of the quartet were kept in the Cowboys’ 24-hour pre-game squad list on Friday evening, but could still drop out of the team before Saturday’s 5.30pm kick-off.

In a further blow to the Cowboys, they have also lost prop Jordan McLean to a calf injury.

Sam McIntyre has been named at hooker as a replacement for Robson, who has reported a sore neck after playing 80 minutes for NSW in their 38-10 loss.

McIntyre has only started at hooker twice in his 52-game NRL career, both appearances coming for Gold Coast in 2022, but back-up rake Jake Granville is unavailable with a biceps injury.

Braidon Burns looks set to keep his spot on Taulagi’s wing after impressing since joining the Cowboys from South Sydney mid-season.

Queensland representative Taulagi has a minor shoulder complaint but, like Robson, is not expected to miss any game time beyond round 14.

“We could needle ‘Muz’ up and roll him out, but three days after a big game, I don’t think that’s great for his long-term health,” said Cowboys coach Todd Payten.

“He’ll get a few days’ rest, he’s in no doubt for the following game, and same with ‘Robbo’. 

“(Robson) plays in the middle of the park, 50 tackles, 48 tackles, again he’s really important for us. We just need to do the right thing by those players.”

Payten was impressed by his Cowboys Origin representatives, five of whom were on the winning Queensland team.

Notably, Robson made the most tackles of any player on the field (50), with Nanai (48) and Cotter (45) the next most prolific.

“Reece on a losing side was strong for that 80-minute period. His service was good, tackled everything that moved, had a couple of nice little touches at different times,” Payten said.

“Our Queensland guys, Tommy Dearden looked like he’d played 15 (Origin) games or more, ‘Muz’ is an out-and-out star. Val’s been there and done that, ‘Miah’ (Nanai), 48 tackles. Reuben played 70 minutes and just does what he does.”