The North Queensland Cowboys have been dealt a blow ahead of the NRL season, with wing Antonio Winterstein to miss at least the opening two rounds.
Winterstein, 28, suffered an ankle injury during the Cowboys' trial win over the Wests Tigers on Friday.
The Cowboys, preliminary finalists last season, confirmed on Monday that Winterstein would miss rounds one and two.
It means he will be absent for matches against the Canberra Raiders and Brisbane Broncos.
But Winterstein could return for the Cowboys' meeting with the Manly Sea Eagles on March 18.
Winterstein scored 13 tries in 24 games last season.