Ray Thompson of hope for Kumuls

THE Team Kumuls management is confident North Queensland Cowboy hooker Ray Thompson will recover from a season ending broken jaw for the Rugby League World Cup.
Thompson, 23, came off in the round 24 clash against the Newcastle Knights with blood dripping from injury.
He was the victim of a shoulder charge by Knights’ prop Kade Snowden.
That left the 2011 PNG Prime Minister’s XIII halfback concussed and bleeding from the mouth – he was taken off 1300Smiles Stadium in Townsville. 
Snowden was sent off for the offence and subsequently handed a seven-match ban by the National Rugby League Judiciary. 
Team Kumuls general manager Matthew Natusch said they hoped Thompson could still be available to be in Adrian Lam’s squad for the tournament that starts on October 19.
“Ray’s not completely out of the picture as far as the World Cup is concerned,” he said. 
“With an injury like that the usual recovery time is eight weeks but we’re hopeful Ray can be fit in six weeks. We’ve been in contact with the Cowboys and they’ve advised us on where Ray is and what his chances are,” Natusch said.  
“Obviously the window of opportunity is small but he’s had surgery already and hopefully he can make progress over the next month.”
Thompson is a frontrunner for the Kumul No.7 jumper and will be the only player who has played the position at the NRL level.
Kumuls assistant coach Michael Marum said it was unfortunate news but thankfully the hooking berth had a wealth of talent.
“It’s sad that Ray broke his jaw as he is an NRL-level player but we are lucky to have several quality hookers at our disposal. We have James Segeyaro, Charlie Wabo and Wartovo Puara Jr so someone will step up,” Marum said.
“It’s normally an eight-week recovery period so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Natusch would not speculate on the impact of losing a player of Thompson’s calibre but said there were contingency plans if any first choice player was unavailable.
“Losing a player of Ray’s calibre is hard but there is a silver lining to this as someone else from the squad will get a chance to fill the gap,” Natusch said.
Port Moresby Vipers’ half Israel Eliab and Rabaul Gurias’ Dion Aiye – both five-eighths by preference – have played halfback for the Kumuls and PM’s XIII and will be the likely backups
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