NORTH QUEENSLAND YOUNG GUNS 46 defeat NORTHS DEVILS 8
The Young Guns� 19-year-old backrower faces an uncertain period of time on the sideline, with coach Grant Bell saying a positive prognosis and accelerated recovery could clear Cooper to take on Easts next Saturday.
His injury coincides with a testing time for North Queensland�s depth, as half-a-dozen players are sure to be promoted to NRL this week to cover for the club�s State of Origin representatives.
Yet while the Young Guns nervously look forward to Round 13 of the Wizard Cup, they can only reflect assuredly on their last-up effort, a 38-point win which consolidated second spot on the table.
Despite disruptions to their travel schedule, the Guns arrived in enemy territory ready to play and built an 18-0 lead by halftime.
Bell praised the steadying leadership of Daniel Strickland, while up-and-comer Ben Lowe had his best game in North Queensland colours to date.
Others to show their hand were prop Matthew Scott, halfback Chris Sheppard and fullback Jason Barsley.
�No doubt Norths are depleted and missing a few blokes, but they still have plenty of credentials,� Bell said.
�The nuts and bolts of their forward pack are still in place � blokes like Nathan Friend and Antonio Kaufusi and Patty Gardner � so I won�t diminish our effort too much.
�Saying that, the value was in the day. We were good against a good side, but if we place too much emphasis on it, we are setting ourselves for a fall.�
Relishing his return to the State League after a frustrating run with injuries Neil Sweeney gave a whole-hearted performance and covered for Cooper by kicking six conversions.
The Young Guns� showdown with Easts will take place at Proserpine on Saturday evening at 7.30pm.
Meanwhile Norths will aim to arrest a three-game losing streak when it takes on Ipswich at QLD Group Stadium the same night at 6pm. The Devils are now in fifth place on standings.
NORTH QUEENSLAND 46 (Jason Barsley 2, Clint Amos 2, Shane Muspratt, Wallace Solomona, Charles Vis, Daniel Strickland tries; Neil Sweeney 6, Gavin Cooper goals)
NORTHS 8 (Ryan Shortland 2 tries)
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