Johnathan Thurston
Johnathan Thurston Brenda Strong

Cowboys Johnathan Thurston returns to the field a new dad

NEW dad Johnathan Thurston returns on Friday night for his first match with the Cowboys as a new dad, and his first since the club's shock round-11 loss to the lowly Tigers four weeks ago.

Thurston's fiancée, Samantha Lynch, gave birth to their daughter, Frankie, on Friday afternoon in Townsville but the Cowboys captain was unable to front up for their eventual 34-24 loss to the Bulldogs the following night.

He aggravated an adductor muscle injury during Origin I, and was subsequently ruled unfit to play.

But with the disappointing Cowboys needing to win eight of their remaining 11 NRL matches just to make the 2013 play-offs, Thurston has been rushed back to the clash with the Dragons in Wollongong.

Tryscoring winger Ashley Graham and dummy half Rory Kostjasyn have also been recalled.

But Kangaroos and Blues prop James Tamou, although named, could be stood down for the clash.

He was arrested on drink-driving and unlicensed driving charges over the weekend and Cowboys management may yet suspend him from the must-win match against the Dragons.

After having the bye last weekend both the Titans and the Rabbitohs have named their three Origin players for Sunday's clash in Cairns, tagged the 'Rumble at the Reef'.

With an ankle injury to Beau Champion, the Rabbitohs have a new centre paring of Bryson Goodwin and Dylan Waker and have named a 20-man squad.

Following his controversial Origin appearance, Blues skipper Paul Gallen returns for the Sharks against the Eels at Shark Park on Saturday night.

Gallen will play for his club side for the first time since round eight on May 5 - six weeks ago.

For the Eels, Reni Maitua returns after deciding to sit out last week's match when told he was not required at the club next year.

Another unwanted Eel, centre Chaise Blair, is also back.

In other team news, Russell Packer and Kevin Locke return for the Warriors; Lewis Brown is back in the second row for the Panthers, partnering Sika Manu, with Josh Mansour starting in the centres; Tony Williams will start in the second row for the Bulldogs, with Josh Jackson back to the bench; and although Wayne Bennett has not named Craig Gower in his squad for the Knights trip to Melbourne on Sunday, the newly-signed 35-year-old could still play.

The Broncos, Sea Eagles, Dragons, Storm and Raiders have named unchanged line-ups.



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