Storm coach Craig Bellamy has confirmed winger Sandor Earl is in the frame to make his long-awaited NRL return, praising the former Raider's resilience and work ethic.
The Storm are expected to welcome back winger Josh Addo-Carr from personal leave but have lost Suliasi Vunivalu from the opposite flank to a one-game suspension.
Centre Marion Seve has been named on the wing and fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen on the bench to play his second game, though either could make way for 29-year-old Earl, whose last game was six years ago.
"He's come up with us so we'll decide [Thursday] at our training run," Bellamy said, though he was not forthcoming on how Earl may fit in.
"We've got a couple of issues with a couple of injuries and it's been a five-day turnaround, it's been obviously a long trip. So we haven't done a whole heap of training this week. But he's certainly with us and certainly a chance."
Earl on the cusp of NRL return
Bellamy declared Earl ready to return, having had what was supposed to be his comeback season last year ruined by a ruptured ACL.
"We think he's ready; if we put him in, he'll need to be ready so he's had a really good pre-season," Bellamy said.
"He's a really hard worker. It's quite unbelievable what he's done after what he's been through and the amount of time he's been out and then have that ACL injury and so he's persevered.
"He's a resilient character and it's been a long time between NRL games for him so it's going to be a little bit different but he's worked really hard so if he does happen to make it there tomorrow, I'm sure he'll do a good job for us."
Of the game itself, Bellamy was wary of a hit-back from a Cowboys side that has been stung by three straight heavy losses, especially given a below-par performance from Melbourne against Canterbury in round four.
Cowboys v Storm - Round 5
"It probably wasn't our best performance of the season [last week] but we thought the Bulldogs played really well to be quite honest," Bellamy said.
"For us to stick in there and then get the result we were pretty happy with that effort. The Cowboys haven't had a great couple of weeks without a doubt. But you look through that team especially the forward pack and then with Michael Morgan in there, you just wonder it's going to turn at some stage.
"I'm sure for the Cowboys and the Cowboys supporters that they'll have a lot of confidence in that. When it does though, I'm not quite sure but as I said they've got too much class and too many good players not to kick back at some stage.
"Paul (Green) and his coaching staff and obviously the senior players will be looking at what has happened in games.
"I'm sure they've picked out a couple of areas where they need to improve. I'm sure they've worked on that this week. So we just want to go in with our plan and what we need to do and hopefully we can do that well.