Cup disappointment to drive Cowboys centre
RUGBY LEAGUE: Kane Linnett believes the disappointment of missing Scotland's Rugby League World Cup campaign has him primed to deliver for the Cowboys in the NRL this season.
Linnett has been a fixture for the Bravehearts, playing six Tests including their 2016 Four Nations campaign when they claimed a stunning 18-18 draw against New Zealand.
The no-frills centre had hoped to pull on the Scotland jersey again for last year's World Cup but a gruelling Cowboys campaign took its toll with Linnett booked in for elbow surgery.
Scotland struggled with a host of NRL stars unavailable through injury, including Linnett and fellow Cowboy Lachlan Coote, and their best result was a 14-14 draw with Samoa in their final pool game.
Linnett said he would have loved to play for the Bravehearts again, but the 29-year-old felt he had to put his fitness first as the Cowboys look to avenge last season's grand final loss to the Storm.
"It definitely was (tough to sit out). The boys probably struggled a bit there and we had a few players that were injured,” Linnett said.
"I was actually really looking forward to playing in the World Cup, but I just had to look after my body. I'd just finished here and club footy comes first.
"I had surgery on my arm and I had a pretty busy off-season doing a few things away from footy so the body's feeling good now and I'm looking forward to a big year ahead.”
"I haven't had a full pre-season in a while. I played in the Four Nations and the World Cup before that and playing Nines and a lot of stuff like that.”I guess it's really good just to get a bit more extra work done before the season starts.”
Linnett is one of the best defensive centres in the NRL but admitted the Cowboys would need more attacking spark from their outside backs as they target their third grand final appearance in four years.
Prolific tryscorers like Antonio Winterstein and Justin O'Neill went through a bit of a drought last season and Linnett said they were all determined to find the stripe more frequently in 2018.
"It was a bit dry last year. Juzzie (O'Neill) only got one try and I only got a few so hopefully we can get across the line a few more times this year,” he said. "But it's not just that. We're trying to set up a few more tries as well which is just as important.
"We've been training pretty hard and we're starting to just run through a few of our plays and get a few things together because before you know it we'll be starting to play footy again.”