Cowboys ready for desperate Dogs
Cowboys mentor Paul Green has warned of the dangers his side face when they come up against a desperate Bulldogs attack that has lost its way in the last two weeks without Origin star Josh Reynolds.
After catching a Tigers side napping early last Sunday the Dogs simply looked out of answers, going scoreless for the final hour of play on an afternoon made for attacking football.
They will have to go one more week without Reynolds after his Origin Three suspension, and Green expects the grind-out specialists to fill the void with a bit more flamboyance from the forwards this Saturday.
"Their forward pack (is the main threat). They have a really big forward pack, a really skilful forward pack and they have got a bit of second-phase in them, so we will need to tackle well this week. They are very skilful and play off the back of that with offload-type plays so it's something we will need to nullify if we want to be in the game," Green said.
"Des (Hasler) being Des would probably be putting a rocket up them this week too. I think they will be fired up for a good performance after last weekend, I'm sure they were pretty disappointed in what happened against the Tigers so we will be in for a good game which I am looking forward to."
After finally breaking their away duck against Cronulla on Friday, everything from Green's body language at the Tuesday press conference told of a different, more relaxed mood at the club.
Even veteran forward Glenn Hall last week told NRL.com of the weight of frustration felt by the group, indicating it was not just in their minds at foreign venues, but also at training mid-week.
"A win makes a heap of difference in footy and it determines whether you have a good week or a bad week, so this week is a good week for us," Green said.
"Exactly what (that Cronulla win) means for us long term, I don't know, we will see. We have certainly got the monkey off our back, which is good, and it's about building on that and we should get some confidence off that and just keep improving for the rest of the year."
Following news the club has signed Storm forward Tim Glasby and Broncos hooker Jake Granville this week, Green has revealed something of a club recruitment policy that puts locally-based talent before anything else on the selection table.
"We will always look for people from the region. We are a North Queensland area which is a strong rugby league area so in terms of our development, we will always look to North Queensland first and foremost but at the end of the day we just have to get the best players available and want to come here."
The rookie coach also emphasised the need to know his footballers both on and off the field, making the addition of 'Jake the Rake' a clear choice.
"I have a fair bit of history with Jake and I've coached him in the Intrust Super Cup. He is a terrific little player and I think he will add another dimension to us there (at hooker). I have a pretty good knowledge of what they are like not only as footballers but also as people and it's equally as important that we bring good people into the place," he said.
"He has certainly done it all at the next level down at the Intrust Super Cup. He got Player of the Year down there, and we've won a couple of premierships together. I certainly think he is an NRL player, but he's been pigeonholed a bit down there behind Andrew McCullough at the moment who, when he's fully fit, can knock out 80 minutes. It's probably held Jake's development back a little bit but I think once he gets an opportunity, he will be really good for us."