Scott stroke leaves Cowboys in shock
NORTH Queensland coach Paul Green has spoken of the club's devastation after learning that Matt Scott, the Cowboys' greatest prop, had suffered a stroke.
Green says doctors are confident Scott will make a full recovery after he suffered a mild stroke just 24 hours after the Cowboys' 42-6 loss to the Knights in Newcastle last Saturday night.
Former Queensland Origin prop Scott is currently recovering in hospital in Brisbane. Cowboys teammates were informed of the news on Tuesday morning, plunging the club into a state of shock ahead of Friday's home clash against the Panthers in Townsville.
Scott announced his retirement at season's end last month, but his Cowboys career is almost certainly over with the 34-year-old unlikely to play in the club's final two games against the Bulldogs and Melbourne.
Nicknamed 'Thumper', Scott is the most-capped forward in Cowboys history, having played 268 first-grade games, and Green said the club is reeling at the prop's health battle.
"It's pretty upsetting news, everyone is processing it at the moment," he said.
"It's tougher for Matt and his family as well. We need to make sure they are OK.
"It's pretty serious, I'd be surprised if he does play again, but that's the least of his worries at this stage.
"He's in good hands, he is getting the right support and treatment, so I have confidence in the doctors.
"They are confident he will make a recovery."
Scott showed no ill-effects on Saturday, playing 36 minutes in the Cowboys' heavy loss to the Knights. Feeling his usual self, he declined an opportunity from Green to sit out the second half with the Cowboys being badly beaten.
But the following morning, Scott woke up feeling unwell. Cowboys insiders noticed Scott looking pale and tired. The former Maroons and Test prop managed to fly from Newcastle to Brisbane but upon landing, Cowboys medicos made the decision to take Scott to hospital for tests.
Doctors do not believe Scott's mild stroke is related to any football incident.
A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain. Other strokes are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts.
"They (Cowboys players) were pretty shocked. There were a range of emotions," Green said.
"It's not what we expected. We knew Matt was pretty crook coming off the flight but for it to be what it is, it is quite surprising and everyone is taken aback by what's happened.
"It started Sunday morning. By the time we arrived in Brisbane he was pretty crook, so we decided to send him to hospital on our stopover from Brisbane.
"You build a special relationship with your players, it's similar to family I suppose, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's uncomfortable, but it's always a strong relationship considering what you go through together.
"Some people at this club have known him a lot longer than I have. They are feeling just as bad, if not worse, than me."
Scott is revered as one of the toughest players of his era. The rugged bookend played 22 Origin matches for Queensland and 22 Tests for Australia and, with Johnathan Thurston, co-captained the Cowboys to their maiden premiership in 2015.
Green said he would be surprised if any Cowboys player wanted to stand down for this week's clash against Penrith.
Just three days ago, with the club languishing in second last spot, Green appealed for Cowboys players to finish off the season well as a tribute to the retiring Scott.
"I'd be surprised if anyone didn't want to play," he said.
"If you look at what Matt is all about and you only have to go back to the weekend's game (against Newcastle), he was given the option to not go back out for his second stint but that was never an option for him.
"He was almost offended when I suggested it. There was no way he wasn't going back out there so the players need to take his attitude this week.
"In my time in rugby league, which has been a long time, back to the 1980s, I've never experienced so much at the one time (in a season)."