Reuben Cotter is aiming to make a return from his partial hamstring tear in Round 19, effectively ruling him out for the State of Origin decider in a massive blow for the Maroons.
Cotter was one of Queensland's best in Game 1, knocking out an impressive 134 metres to pair with his 51 tackles, a stellar 80-minute Origin debut, something the Maroons really lacked in Game 2.
The lock forward's absence saw Tino Fa'asuamaleaui don the thirteen jersey for the second game, and the move away from a ball-playing, high energy lock to essentially a third prop hindered what was an incredibly mobile pack.
The Cowboys are hoping to have Reuben Cotter back in Round 19. Would be a 5 week return to play after suffering a partial tear of his hamstring
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) June 29, 2022
It leaves Billy Slater scrambling over potential changes for the decider in a fortnight's time, after Ben Hunt was forced to play minutes at lock, though he didn't enjoy the best night at the Blues made up for their subpar efforts in the series opener.
While the Round 19 return date is a blow for Queenslanders, it is a boost for Cowboys fans, who will have their newfound fan favourite on deck for the final seven regular season games before an almost certain return to finals football.
It would be a five week return to play for Cotter, however being a hamstring injury, it would come as no surprise if Todd Payten opted to stick to the cautious side when the young forward returns.