LAST season he scored the match-sealing try in a triumphant return to Newcastle.
But tomorrow night Knights discard Cory Paterson will be cheering from afar when his North Queensland teammates run out at Hunter Stadium.
The towering 24-year-old has been named in the Cowboys’ feeder team, Northern Pride, to tackle the Burleigh Bears in Cairns tomorrow afternoon.
Offered an early release by Newcastle midway through last season because he was unwanted by incoming coach Wayne Bennett, Paterson moved to Townsville and played in seven games last season, including North Queensland’s play-off loss to Manly.
He debuted for his adopted club against the Knights in round 18 at Turton Road, marking the occasion by creating the go-ahead try and scoring the clincher in North Queensland’s 24-14 boilover.
This season, however, he has struggled with injury and his only NRL appearance was 20minutes against Brisbane in round two.
Cowboys football manager Peter Parr was blunt when asked yesterday about the chances of Paterson winning a recall for tomorrow’s showdown with his former club.
‘‘None,’’ Parr said. ‘‘Cory came back from injury for the Northern Pride last week, and he was pretty good, but we’ve had other forwards like Glenn Hall and Scott Bolton playing back there too, so there is plenty of competition.
‘‘But the forwards in our NRL team have been doing a good job.
‘‘They had a good win last week [30-6 against St George Illawarra] and when the team’s winning, obviously you don’t see many changes.
‘‘It’s good to have some depth, and those guys are sure to be called on in coming weeks because of Origin, or injuries or whatever.’’
Paterson played 77 NRL games for the Knights between 2007 and last season.
He also represented the Prime Minister’s XIII and Indigenous Dream Team during his time in Newcastle.
But he is yet to approach the heights many predicted when he burst on to the first-grade scene as a 19-year-old.