North Queensland talisman Matt Scott is "touch and go" for Saturday night's NRL qualifying final against Melbourne, teammate Jason Taumololo has revealed.
Scott and fellow Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston were absent from Monday's finals launch in Sydney with Taumalolo standing in as the club's representative.
Thurston picked up a leg cork in Saturday's win over Gold Coast and was allowed to forego the launch because of concerns about possible effects flying on the injury.
However Thurston, who also battled tonsilitis in the lead up to the clash with the Titans, is expected to be right to face the Storm.
While the club was also upbeat about Scott - who missed the Titans clash because of a finger injury - being fit for week one of the finals, Taumalolo admitted the Test prop was facing a race against the clock.
"JT should be right to play, Thumper (Scott) is still touch-and-go with his finger," Taumalolo said.
"Fingers crossed he can show up on Saturday night."
Scott has missed two of the last three weeks of a back/neck injury, which has plagued him all year, and his broken finger.
Taumalolo described Scott as the nucleus of the Cowboys pack and said losing him against the highly-rated Storm forwards would be a blow.
He said Scott's ability to battle through injury was inspirational for him and his teammates.
"It just doesn't end - he had back and neck surgery a couple of years ago, he's a battler that's for sure," Taumalolo said.
"It's nothing different to what he does on the field. To have him in the side will be a huge confidence boost for us."