NRL Rd 10 - Wests Tigers v Cowboys
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Reuben Cotter of the Cowboys looks on during the round 10 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium, on May 15, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

North Queensland Cowboys and Kangaroos forward Rueben Cotter has spoken about the head clash from Australia's opening World Cup game with Fiji that ruled him out of the match with Scotland due to mandatory concussion protocols.

The 23-year-old is preparing to play in Australia's final group game against Italy, but he admits the collision was pretty severe and he was glad he didn't return to play.

“It was a bad one,” Cotter told The Daily Telegraph.

“I didn't realise how bad it was. I'm glad I ended up staying off because it was pretty bad.

“I tried to use some late feet to throw them off – wrong place, wrong time. Tui (Kamikamica) came forward and I stepped into him. It was a bad way to go out but I'll be right.

“(I've had) week off and I'll get back into it. I remember everything that happened up until the head knock. We obviously won which is good too.

“I'm feeling good now and I didn't have many symptoms afterwards. That was a positive sign.”

But while Cotter has received plenty of support in camp since the blow, he says that sympathy from home was less forthcoming.

“My phone was blowing up when I came off,” he said.

“Dad got into me. No sympathy from dad.

“They were pretty excited – they were up early to watch it.”

Cotter has since passed a cognitive test that has cleared him to return against Italy as one of a number of players still trying to secure their starting spot in Mal Meninga's team for the knock-out stages.

Though the game is effectively a dead-rubber as the Kangaroos have already qualified and are highly likely to finish first, Cotter says that won't be a factor in his gameday mindset.

“Every match you pull on an Australian jersey is important and I won't be looking at it any different,” Cotter said.

“I'm sure the boys who play won't be either. We have to continue building in these three games. I just have to play to my ability and my strengths.

“Everyone wants to play… in these big games. Everyone will be going hard for it.”

The 2023 NRL Season is just around the corner and the Zero Tackle Season Guide is back! Get everything you need, from team lists, fixtures, statistics and a profile on every single player in the competition in our 2023 NRL Season Guide. Available now!