Josh McGuire is no certainty to suit up against the Raiders in Canberra on Saturday but he has flown to the national capital hopeful of being able to shake off a calf injury.
Assistant coach Josh Hannay has confirmed the team has travelled to Canberra with 19 players in the event that McGuire isn’t fit to play.
"Josh McGuire’s back in the squad, he'll need to get through the captain’s run to be cleared to play. He ran yesterday and he seems to be Okay but he didn’t do the entire session," Hannay said.
"It’s a fairly long trip as well, so we just want to make sure we don't get down there and feel like we're short on numbers - better to be safe than sorry to travel with that extra person this weekend."
With Origin team selection on Monday, Hannay said McGuire was super keen to prove to Queensland coach Kevin Walters that he was available for a call-up.
"He's been intolerable for the last couple of weeks so we're always keen for him to get back out there. He’s a pain in the backside when he’s not playing."
Raiders v Cowboys - Round 11
"He loves playing State of Origin, that jersey means a lot to him. First and foremost, he wants to get back into our side and play well and help us build some momentum but State of Origin is in the back of his mind as well."
Coen Hess was a notable absentee at training during the week, speculation there again that fitness was an issue. But Hannay was happy to clear up any concern.
"Hessy’s going to be fine. We monitor the training and the running loads of all our players, and Hessy’s metreage from last week's game was through the roof, so it's more a preventative thing than anything.
"Keep him fresh and keep him fully fit as we can for the weekend."
Heading to Canberra’s cooler climate will be a shock to the system for the North Queensland players who are yet to record back-to-back wins this year.
"We obviously prefer to play the day time in Canberra this time of year than a night game, it'll be beautiful conditions," Hannay said of the 3pm kick-off at GIO Stadium.
"We can go and get a good scalp against a good team this weekend, that'll have us right on the fringe of the eight and hopefully lead into some real momentum, which we haven't had at this point. So a big opportunity, but also a big task."