You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Green wary of Raiders' lethal NRL edge

NZN 28/02/2017 Scott Bailey

North Queensland coach Paul Green is wary of throwing young sensation Kalyn Ponga up against Canberra and the NRL's most-damaging attacking edge.

Green has named Antonio Winterstein to start on the Cowboys' left wing, however he will need to train on Friday to have any chance of being named in the final 17.

Winterstein injured his ankle in the Cowboys' last trial hitout a fortnight ago against the Wests Tigers, and was originally expected to be out for up to a month.

However, he returned to running on Monday, with Green hopeful he could still figure on Saturday night in Townsville.

"He's still a chance at this stage," Green said.

"A guy with his experience, we'll give him as much time as he needs."

If he isn't available, Green says his replacement will likely be Javid Bowen or Ponga, but he is all too aware of the job they'll have to do on the most-dangerous partnership in the competition in Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana.

"I'll look a bit more through the Canberra team and finalise how we want to play and who fits into that," Green said.

"It's a pretty important side of the field, marking Leilua and Rapana.

"Having (Winterstein)'s experience there would be good."

The Canberra pair scored the most tries down their left edge of the entire 2016 season, picking off 34 as the Raiders went within a week of reaching the grand final.

Winger Rapana was also the equal-leading try-scorer with 23, and led the league for line breaks.

Leilua was equal second in the league for offloads with 70, while he was also second best in the tackle-bust category with 125, presenting a real headache for opposition teams.

"Both of those boys in Canberra's team play a physical game," Green said.

"They test you a lot down the short side. They're not easy to tackle, those guys.

"Our left edge has a job to do."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon