North Queensland are yet to decide who will fill the vacant halves position left by injured captain Michael Morgan ahead of Sunday’s NRL clash with Gold Coast.

The Cowboys co-captain was ruled out of the Queensland derby after reporting soreness in his injury-riddled shoulder.

Morgan will be monitored by the club in the next week and is expected to be fit for round four, but coach Todd Payten was tight-lipped and says they haven’t decided on a replacement yet to face the Titans.

“We trained today, we train it tomorrow, we’ll make some decisions after that. There are a number of ways we can work it,” he said.

“It’s never good for any team to lose a key player, you know one, six, seven or nine.

“In our pre-season, we shuffled the decks from week to week so we have a bit of practice with ‘Morgo’ coming off the back of last season. We’ve also had a fair bit of practice without him.

“He’s disappointed – as captain of the club he wants to get out and play well, he wants to contribute in a positive way and get us back in the winning circle.”

Jordan McLean will lead the Cowboys with co-skipper Jason Taumalolo also sidelined, and Payten says his interim captain has already stepped up.

“He’s pretty excited actually, he trained really well today, expecting him to get it out and lead the boys really well,” Payten said.

The Cowboys have the tough ask of containing the rampaging combination of David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, and knows the two will target his halves.

“I reckon Fifita is going to run at our halfback. Dave has got his own style in the way that he plays footy which is different to Tino,” Payten said.

“We’ve got two back-rowers that are very different in their own right, so I just want our boys to play to their strengths.

“Across the park our forwards just need to get their job done and if we can hold the ball the metres will come.”

The Titans will be without five-eighth Ash Taylor after fracturing his hand in round two against the Broncos.

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