Cowboys fullback Michael Morgan has praised Paul Green's decision to show faith in his players after the coach decided against a mass cull for this week's clash with Newcastle.
Earlier in the week Green talked about loyalty and making his players feel secure about their place in the team despite an underwhelming performance against the Roosters last Saturday.
Morgan had a night to forget and quickly became one of the more scrutinised Cowboys after a meteoric rise during his first season at fullback last year.
But with so much competition for spots – including his own personal duel with custodian Lachlan Coote – striking a balance between form and team chemistry becomes even more important for North Queensland as they aim to finish top four for just the second time in club history.
"I do think that [Green's decision was the right one]. We hate losing, believe me. We were all very disappointed after the game; still are throughout this week. It's about moving onto the game this weekend... the only way you can make up for your mistakes is to do better next time. We have that chance to make up for it and I'm really hoping we do," Morgan said.
"I'm sure all the boys are appreciative of it too. We showed last year that we can play better than that, it was just a bad start and there are a number of quality players in the team and if we all turn up to perform on Saturday we will be a lot better than we were last weekend.
"He's a very good coach, he's smart in what he does so he wouldn't be doing it for no reason."
The heat was taken off Morgan's battle with Coote somewhat on Thursday morning when it was announced the 23-year-old had signed a three-year extension with North Queensland until the end of 2018.
With contract negotiations put to bed early in the season, Morgan can now focus on his own improvement without looking over his shoulder for fear of repercussions of his place in the team next year.
"I think I can get involved a bit more in attack when we have the ball, just be another option more often and defensively [there are] a couple of things I've got to sort out and doing my best in that part – directing the boys, especially when we're defending our line," he said.
"I'm not silly, I know Cootey will play at some stage this year. He's a very good player, he's probably too good for the Queensland Cup competition. I'll take it as it comes, if Cootey ends up going in [to the fullback role] and I'm lucky enough to still be in the 17, I'll just do the best whatever it is Greeny wants me to do."