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Ex-Rooster Mitchell eyes Cowboys No.9
Laine Clark
20:38 AEST Thu Jan 24 2013

Torrential rain might have ensured Anthony Mitchell is a little wet behind the ears but the former Sydney Rooster believes he has the nous to fill North Queensland's vacant No.9 jersey in the 2013 NRL season.

Released by the Roosters in mid-2012, Mitchell looked to be the next in line behind retiring Cowboys veteran rake Aaron Payne after forcing his way into the Cowboys' line-up for their controversial 2012 elimination final loss to Manly.

But off-season shoulder surgery put Mitchell back in a queue featuring English recruit Scott Moore, Melbourne import Rory Kostjasyn and incumbent Cowboys Ray Thompson and Alex Elisala.

However, Mitchell was confident he could rise to the challenge - if he didn't get swept away at training first.

The Cowboys' training ground's 200mm rain gauge was overflowing on Thursday as a soggy 35-strong North Queensland squad went through their paces under unforgiving coach Neil Henry.

And they better get used to it - ex-Cyclone Oswald's progress down the Queensland coast is set to extend the big wet.

It's hardly the ideal lead-up for the Cowboys' biggest pre-season campaign in years with trials against Brisbane in Mount Isa on February 9, St George Illawarra in Cairns a week later and Gold Coast in Mackay on February 23.

"We have to get used to training in conditions like this. This isn't the time to take some time off," Henry said.

"The boys really adjusted to the session well.

"It was pretty wet but you're going to get that in north Queensland at this time of year."

It wasn't an ideal time for Mitchell to return to the main group as he edged back to full fitness.

But he was just thankful for getting out of "quarantine" and re-joining the main training group.

He hoped to start staking a claim for the No.9 jersey by the second trial in Cairns.

"There's that light at the end of the tunnel," Mitchell said.

"Everyone's looking to get that nine on their back.

"It's probably going to come down to the trials and how well we play.

"I'm just going to have to let that talk for itself."