Cowboys set for anything Eels dish up

Johnathan Thurston is sure to get some close attention tonight. Photo: AAP Image
Johnathan Thurston is sure to get some close attention tonight. Photo: AAP Image Getty Images

MICHAEL Morgan has backed halves partner Johnathan Thurston to handle any roughhouse treatment from Parramatta sniper Beau Scott in tonight's NRL clash at Pirtek Stadium.

Scott has a history of unsettling Thurston in club and State of Origin games and while he has changed clubs in the off-season, he certainly won't have changed his approach to hassling the playmakers.

"I think so," said Morgan, when asked whether he thought Scott would lock his defensive radar on Thurston. "He does that to a lot of halves. That's the type of player he is. He likes to put a lot of pressure on the halves, (but) that's a back-rower's job and he (Scott) goes out of his way to do his job."

Morgan said Thurston dealt with targeting every game he played.

"They go after Johnno every week and he seems to handle it. He'll be right," he said. "Hopefully our big boys can help him out."

Scott walked a fine line last year playing for Newcastle when he hunted Thurston, at one point when he launched into the Cowboys star when he didn't have the ball and another time when he picked him up and dumped him on his head.

He copped a grade-one dangerous contact charge out of the clash but didn't miss a game.

Morgan said the Cowboys would respect the Eels, after almost being upset by them last year until they roared home with 36 unanswered points for a 36-30 win.

The Eels will also be boosted by the club debut of former Manly and Kiwi Test player Kieran Foran.

"Foran will bring a lot of direction and more organised structurally," Morgan said.

Meanwhile, it's hard to see Newcastle holding a South Sydney side that bulldozed the Roosters off the park last weekend. Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis could have a picnic in a lopsided clash.

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