Cowboys coach Green refuses to wield axe
Cowboys coach Paul Green refuses to wield axe for Saturday's NRL clash with Newcastle (AAP Image/Brendon Thorne)
After a show of faith from players, embattled North Queensland coach Paul Green has returned the favour by refusing to wield the axe for Saturday's NRL clash with Newcastle.
But as last round's withering half-time spray indicated, Green's patience is wearing thin with his underperforming team with ex-Test prop Jordan McLean and Jake Granville waiting in the wings.
Green has surprisingly stuck with the same starting 13, with Reuben Cotter the only new face in his 17 for this weekend's Townsville clash with the Knights.
McLean (calf) will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness while hooker Granville is also in the mix after both were named on an extended bench on Tuesday.
It looked like there would be some serious blood-letting after the Cowboys fell behind 34-0 at halftime against Wests Tigers last round, prompting one of the great bakes from Green.
North Queensland responded in the second half but fell short 36-20 to slump to their third straight loss, intensifying the heat on Green who is under pressure to keep his job.
Josh McGuire this week defended Green after what the brutally honest Cowboys prop described as a "s***house" display against the Tigers and vowed to rectify it.
Green said he would give the players a chance to back up their tough talk by sticking solid with them - for now.
"It is good when people come out in support. I think they (McGuire's comments) were pretty typical of Josh McGuire - he is pretty direct, very honest, very accountable," Green said on Tuesday.
"It's about backing that up now. I don't mean Josh in particular, it is all of us - we all need to be better."
Green looked like he would pop a valve when he was seen venting at halftime against the Tigers.
But Green said he opted to put away the angry pills in the lead-up to the Knights showdown, opting instead for a "fairly open, honest and direct" video review.
"I don't like having to be like that," Green said of his halftime rant.
With a 2-4 record, the Cowboys appear at long odds to play their first finals series in three seasons with a horror draw ahead and injured stars Michael Morgan and Valentine Holmes still weeks away from returning.
However, Green was still confident North Queensland's season could be saved.
"The only way you find that missing piece, there's no magic formula, it's just about hard work," he said.
"We've got a fair bit of talent on the sidelines at the moment ... but you don't need talent and skill to bring energy and have effort.
"That's what we are looking for, that's our biggest area of improvement."
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