North Queensland’s horror season has gone from bad to worse with Maroons star Michael Morgan hobbling off injured in Friday night’s loss to the Warriors.
Morgan is now in doubt for State of Origin II after picking up a bicep injury in North Queensland’s 23-16 defeat to the Warriors.
North Queensland’s home woes continued after a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck-inspired Warriors held on to leave with the two competition points.
Tuivasa-Sheck set up tries for Ken Maumalo and Solomone Kata and scored one in between, racing 65 metres to score.
The last man he swivelled past en route to the tryline was Cowboys and Queensland Origin utility Morgan, whose trailing left arm was twisted back by the Kiwi fullback, leaving him with a suspected torn bicep.
Early reports are distal bicep tear for Michael Morgan. If tendon torn off bone, will require surgery at some stage & 3-4 months recovery. More common to play through proximal (near shoulder) bicep tear than distal (near elbow) bicep tear, but is possible #NRLCowboysWarriors pic.twitter.com/O1xSTwpCQJ
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) June 15, 2018
Trailing 18-0 with halftime approaching, Kyle Feldt set up Javid Bowen for a try and scored two of his own in the second half.
The second try came when Tuivasa-Sheck could not collect Blake Green’s deflected pass and Te Maire Martin sprinted 60m before passing to Feldt as the Warriors closed in on him.
Feldt later was pinged for a penalty for dissent, gifting the Warriors another shot at goal to extend their lead to six points.
The Cowboys dominated the second half and almost drew level in the closing stages when, after a superb Johnathan Thurston grubber, Tuivasa-Sheck barely grounded the ball in-goal ahead of Ben Hampton.
Shaun Johnson kicked a field goal, along with three conversions and two penalties, to ice the game in the last minute.
The loss is the Cowboys’ sixth home defeat of the season and 11th in total, while the Warriors’ win ensures they will remain in the top four at the end of round 15.
Morgan’s absence would be another blow to the Maroons, who have been hit hard by injuries and retirements.
One player under an injury cloud who looks set to recover in time is Billy Slater, despite the Storm star being ruled out of Sunday’s clash with the Knights.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy rated Slater a 50-50 proposition to take on Newcastle due to his ongoing hamstring issue but the veteran fullback has been ruled out.
However, Storm football manager Frank Ponissi said Slater would be a certainty to play in Origin game two in Sydney.
“The club medical staff said he was close to playing but didn’t want to risk any possible season-ending injury. But he’ll be definitely right to play in Origin,” Ponissi told AAP.
Slater, 34, was a late withdrawal when NSW claimed a series-opening victory on June 6 and also sat out Melbourne’s win over Brisbane four days later.