Kyle Laybutt.
Kyle Laybutt. Evan Morgan

Bundy boy set to debut with the Cowboys

LEAGUE: After many close calls, the NRL dream for Bundaberg's Kyle Laybutt could be a reality in Darwin on Saturday night.

The 21-year-old has been named at five-eighth to make his NRL debut for the North Queensland Cowboys.

The former Eastern Suburbs and Western Suburbs junior takes the place of Ray Thompson, ruled out because of his troublesome knee.

While Laybutt's inclusion is fantastic, his debut is still not guaranteed.

Cowboys coach Paul Green has not ruled out co-captain Johnathan Thurston, who has missed the club's past two games with a shoulder injury.

Green was a spectator at last weekend's Queensland Cup game between Townsville and Redcliffe in which Laybutt put in a stand-out performance for the Blackhawks featuring a try, 40/20 and solid defence.

"At some point you have to find out about these young guys,” Green said.

"He started the season a little bit disrupted with injury, he was out for a while with a knee injury, and I think he played really well in that residents game a couple of weeks ago.

"He showed what he's capable of.

"He played well on the weekend; he had some nice touches, he scored a try and kicked a 40/20.”

The announcement ends almost a year of so close, yet so far for the Cowboy.

Laybutt has been named as part of an extended squad for the past couple of matches, but has not been given a chance to show what he is capable of in the NRL.

His last Cowboys game was a pre-season trial in Mackay this year. He scored a field goal in the 11-10 win over the Roosters.

Laybutt was selected with fellow Bundaberg player Coen Hess who is on the bench.

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