Cowboys missing key cog when league returns
COWBOYS have begun working to Plan B with Michael Morgan not expected to take the field when the NRL resumes on May 28.
Coach Paul Green confirmed the club's captain was progressing well in his rehabilitation process but would not be ready within three weeks.
Morgan underwent a shoulder clean out surgery while the team was off the field during the COVID-19 shutdown, with the club expecting to have enough time for him to recover before the season's resume.
But an aspirational NRL return, which has quickly become a reality, has thrown that plan out the window.
"We thought it was an opportunity to get it fixed given we knew we would have a substantial break ahead of us," Green said.
"But that has been considerably shorter than we first expected.
"We are comfortable with (the shoulder) and he has recovered really well from surgery.
"He will miss the start of the year, he won't be ready on May 28. He will be out for a few weeks but he is coming along well."
Green confirmed young gun Jake Clifford would get the opportunity to deputise for his skipper when the season resumes.
The 22-year-old Tully product made his debut in 2018 before playing 15 games in the halves last season including 10 at halfback.
Earlier this week Scott Drinkwater backed the young playmaker to do a good job in the absence of Morgan, and Green doubled down on that and said it was the character Clifford had shown earlier this year that gave him confidence.
"He has come back (to training) in good condition," Green said. "I think also back when we picked the team for that first game and Jake missed out, I was really glad to see him go have a good game in Queensland Cup.
"That was a good test of character for him. He has this opportunity now so it will be good to see him take it."
Originally published as Cowboys missing key cog when league returns