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Cowboys desperate for NRL top-four finish
Wayne Heming
16:27 AEST Tue Aug 14 2012

North Queensland coach Neil Henry has warned the Cowboys will find themselves in the NRL's version of "Survivor" if they come away from WIN Stadium on Monday night without any premiership points.

With a desperate St George Illawarra (22 points) needing to win their last three games to challenge for a place in the top eight, Henry is expecting a tough night with a lot to play for.

A Cowboys win would keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive and kill off the Dragons' playoff hopes.

"It's not so much about putting other teams out as it is about ensuring we're in," said Henry, who will leave a decision until closer to the clash on playing halfback Ray Thompson with a shoulder injury.

"We go down there desperate for two points ourselves to stay in the top half of the top eight. Otherwise, we're in that battle for survival."

Henry is wary of a Dragons side he says has copped some stick from the media.

"The media are on their back but you have to remember some of their outside backs Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale are phenomenal at getting up the field," he said.

"They're in the top half-dozen metre runners in the game," he said.

"We need to respect that and Jamie Soward is a very good player as well.

"Wollongong is a hostile environment for us and Monday night footy down there, it will be a bit cold as well.

"We've got everything to play for because we're only two points away from falling out of the top eight."

Henry said Thompson's shoulder injury was difficult to assess.

"It's hard to tell but it's likely he'll need surgery at the end of the season," he said.

"We'll check him later in the week. We've added Anthony Mitchell to our squad and we'll wait and see.

"He (Thompson) had good movement after last week's game."

Henry was very confident Test stars Johnathan Thurston and prop James Tamou, who picked up minor injuries in the 52-12 shellacking of the Warriors last weekend, would be fine to play against the Dragons.