North Queensland Cowboys coach Todd Payten has confirmed Reuben Cotter and Valentine Holmes are expected to line up for the club on Sunday afternoon against the Melbourne Storm, but Murray Taulagi and Jason Taumalolo are not as certain.

Cotter, who was man of the match in an 80-minute performance on Wednesday evening out of position, and Holmes, made it through the game unscathed.

Payten, speaking to the media on Friday morning, revealed Murray Taulagi is no sure thing to play though as he works through HIA return to play protocols, with a decision on his availability to play to be made following the side's final training session prior to the game on Saturday morning in Townsville.

"Muz [Murray Taulagi] with a HIA has a few things to pass with the medical team, but the other two are good to go," Payten said.

"Reubs is understandably sore today. We need to get the body moving tomorrow and we expect him to line up."

Payten admitted key forward Jason Taumalolo, who was set to return this weekend against the Storm, still has areas of his preparation to tick off to get onto the field, and that the prospect of another 14 days off - the Cowboys have a bye next weekend - could be enticing in ensuring Taumalolo is back to full fitness before he gets onto the field.

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"He [Jason Taumalolo] trained on Tuesday and Thursday," Payten said.

"He has a bit more work to do before we make a decision. Things are looking positive, but we will see how we go tomorrow.

"Whichever way we go, our decision will be based on what's best for Jason long-term. If he gets another 14 days between games [with the bye], or another 14 days to get his knee to heel, get some more kilometres in the legs, then we are making the smart decision.

"Again, a lot of that will be based on how Jase is feeling himself. He has grown in confidence the last couple of times he has run."

The coach also said Cotter is unlikely to play big minutes.

"Run hard, tackle hard for as long as he can," Payten said when asked of Cotter's role for the crunch clash against the Storm, which will see the Cowboys attempt to improve on their horror five and eight record to start the season.

"Whether we preserve him from the start of the match and take the heat out of the game for him, and when he comes on he finishes, or vice versa. He starts and once he plays his part, he will probably be done."

Kick-off is set for 4:05pm (AEST) on Sunday afternoon in Townsville.