The North Queensland Cowboys, currently sitting at second on the ladder, have had to make a tough decision in scratching enforcer Coen Hess from the lineup.

Hess, who was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing Cowboys outfit in 2021, has been ruled out of North Queensland's crucial clash with a Sydney Roosters team rearing to prove itself following a disappointing start to the season.

The Cowboys will be without Hess for their upcoming fixture after the second-rower was unable to recover in time from a shoulder injury suffered in last week's Queensland Derby against the Brisbane Broncos.

According to, scans following the injury revealed no structural damage and the 25-year-old will only be sidelined for one to two weeks.

The Cowboys site is also reporting that former New Zealand Warrior, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, who suffered a knee injury in Round 1, will come in as a direct replacement for the injured Hess.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18: Jamayne Taunoa-Brown of the Warriors is tackled during the round six NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the New Zealand Warriors at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, on April 18, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The Brisbane Broncos have also announced a couple of late scratchings ahead of their Round 4 Saturday night match against the New Zealand Warriors.

Jordan Riki, who was originally announced in the starting lineup, was unable to prove his fitness after suffering a rib blow during last Sunday's Queensland Derby.

20-year-old TC Robati will move from the interchange bench straight into Riki's starting second-row position.

Robati, who made his debut with the club last season, has only posted 12 NRL appearances but has impressed at every corner.

The powerful second-rower will likely bring a different feel to the Broncos' edge pack, and, if Robati's Round 13 performance against the Dragons is anything to go off, fans will be eager to see this young buck let out of the cage.

Another omission from the Broncos squad is newly acquired Kurt Capewell.

A key off-season signing for the Broncos, the premiership-winning Capewell has been dealing with a calf complaint following last week's Derby and, after being placed on the extended bench with hopes of a late entry, has been officially ruled out of the squad's matchup against the Warriors.

NRL Rd 1 - Broncos v Rabbitohs
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Kurt Capewell of the Broncos celebrates after kicking a field goal during the round one NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium, on March 11, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Brenko Lee, another off-season signing by the Broncos, is set to take Robati's place on the bench and make his debut for the club.

A swiss army player, and former Queensland Maroons Centre, Lee is being plugged in for his versatility.

“We’ve bought Brenko in for coverage, with no Capewell or Riki – they could both cover outside back positions – so that’s why Brenko is in and he’ll get his chance at some stage throughout the afternoon,” Walters said in a club statement.