Green sticks with Cowboys strugglers
North Queensland coach Paul Green has named an almost-unchanged Cowboys side for their clash with Newcastle on Saturday night despite a number of underwhelming performances in the 28-4 loss to the Roosters.
Wholesale changes could have been on the table after an all-round lacklustre performance at home on Saturday, but Green has given the bulk of his group a second chance to raise the bar.
"I think it's important that your players feel a little bit of security. Generally speaking I've been pretty loyal in the past, but the boys are pretty disappointed with their performances both individually and as a team so I think I owe them a chance to make amends," he said on Tuesday.
"We got beaten by a very good team. It's a long season and the boys are hurting. We've copped a bit of criticism already – fairly or unfairly – it's been levelled at us so the only way we're going to shut people up is by how we perform on the field.
"I'd like to think that when guys don't play to their own standards that should be motivation enough to improve performance."
New recruit Justin O'Neill will breathe the biggest sigh of relief after retaining his spot on the right wing after producing a couple of costly errors.
The former Melbourne Storm premiership winner is typically as solid as they come out wide, but Green put the 23-year-old at ease with some simple advice after Saturday's aberration.
"Catch the ball," he said jokingly.
"Justin was disappointed with his performance. He's better than that; he knows that. It's funny, you get a basic error and it sort of plays on your mind and he backed it up with another one. It wasn't his best performance but I've got confidence in him that he's a better player than what he showed on the weekend and he'll get another opportunity to prove that this weekend."
Former Eels product Kelepi Tanginoa will make his club debut off the bench replacing Glenn Hall, while Lachlan Coote will spend the week with the club as 18th man.
"I just think (Tanginoa) adds a bit of punch for us. He certainly carries the ball really well. He's a young guy and he's going to get better the more experience in the top grade he gets.
While Green aims to instil a culture of encouragement within the playing group, there was a subtle hint that his Mr nice guy persona has an expiration date when asked about Coote snapping at the heels of the playing group after the elevation.
"It's a message for a few people probably," he said.