The Cowboys are struggling and the Bulldogs have taken full advantage. Picture: Matt King/Getty
The Cowboys are struggling and the Bulldogs have taken full advantage. Picture: Matt King/Getty

Green puts Cowboys' Origin stars on notice

NORTH Queensland coach Paul Green has turned up the heat on his representative stars, telling them their State of Origin jerseys are at risk because of the club's disastrous start to the NRL season.

The Cowboys' sharp fall from grace was put into perspective on Friday night when they were upset by cellar dwellers Canterbury 24-12 at ANZ Stadium.

It was the club's first visit to the Olympic stadium since the 2017 grand final.

After they valiantly fell to a rampaging Melbourne outfit in the season decider 18 months ago, big things were predicted for the Townsville side.

However, they have offered little since and sit at 2-5 despite recruiting smartly, particularly in the forwards where they have picked up Jordan McLean and Josh McGuire over the past two seasons.

Even the retirement of Johnathan Thurston doesn't account for their steep slide, with the side still boasting Michael Morgan to run the show.

Asked about the potential of losing several players to Origin duty during the upcoming representative period, Green said: "Not the way we're playing."

Morgan is expected to fill Queensland's centre vacancy created by Greg Inglis's retirement, McGuire is sure to be in Kevin Walters' engine room and  McLean is tipped to unseat Reagan Campbell-Gillard for a NSW front-row spot.

But backrowers Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper are battling to hold on to their spots in the Queensland side  and it's questionable whether Matt Scott has done enough to force his way back in after sitting out last year due to injury.

The Cowboys just couldn’t match the Bulldogs in the second half.
The Cowboys just couldn’t match the Bulldogs in the second half.

"Generally our team hasn't been in great form," Green said.

"I would say to pick a rep side, you want to pick from sides that are full of confidence and playing well. We've had up to seven Origin reps (in the past). I'm not sure we'll have that."

Green said superstar forward Jason Taumalolo was no guarantee to return from a medial ligament tear against the Gold Coast next week but was tracking ahead of schedule.

Green said he couldn't fault the effort of his senior players but needed them to inspire the team during difficult moments.

"It's not so much those (experienced) guys that are not doing their job," he said.

"The older, more experienced guys they're playing OK.

"We probably need them to bring the team together when they're under pressure. And that didn't happen, particularly at the start of the second half."

News Corp Australia


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