Cowboys hopeful of McGuire deal this week

·2-min read

North Queensland coach Todd Payten hopes a deal will be struck in the coming days to offload Josh McGuire to St George Illawarra.

The former Australia and Queensland prop was missing from Sunday's 34-30 win over Wests Tigers after spending time in hospital with cellulitis this week.

However, it appears he has played his last game for the Cowboys anyway and is expected to be at the Dragons under former coach Anthony Griffin by the end of the week.

"Preferably," Payten said on Sunday night following the first win of the season.

McGuire spent a day and a half in hospital with the infection, missing the main training session of the week prior to the Tigers game.

Skipper Jason Taumalolo is expected back next week to play Canterbury in Townsville after being ruled out ahead of Sunday's win.

The depleted Cowboys were given almost no hope against the Tigers at a sold-out Leichhardt Oval but completely dismantled the home side to hold a 28-6 lead at halftime.

Payten is better placed than most to know how what an achievement that is in front of a vocal home crowd.

The ex-Tigers prop played eight seasons with the club between 2004-2011 and lost just three of 19 games at Leichhardt during that time.

"Playing here on a Sunday afternoon is what all these lads would live for, " he said.

"The crowd got behind their team in the second half and we were probably a little bit lucky when the try was disallowed, but the team certainly got lifted by the crowd at stages."

All the damage was done in the first half as five-eighth Scott Drinkwater set up three tries and scored another to devastate the defence.

"Scotty had a strong game, the past couple of years he's always involved or in and around our points," Payten said.

Payten said he was also encouraged by Valentine Holmes at fullback for the second week in a row.

"He carried the ball really strong, he was fast he had some good touches saved a couple of tries in one set and a couple of errors," he said.

"There's some improvement still for him but it's part of the development."