In part two of our exclusive interview with Paul Green, the Cowboys head coach outlines the importance of the World Club Challenge and how off-season neck surgery has Matt Scott primed for a massive year in 2016.
NRL.com: How important is it to you that the same 17 that won the grand final run out against Leeds in the World Club Challenge on February 21?
PG: I'd really like to give them the opportunity to win the World Club championship. That group won the comp for us last year and I think it would be nice for them to have that chance to win that for the club as well. I'll take 19 players but we've got a few weeks of training and Nines and stuff to get through yet but I'll take a squad of 19 and treat it as an opportunity to spend some quality time together.
The game against Leeds is going to be a great preparation for when our competition kicks off two weeks after that.
NRL.com: Any concerns that travel to England a fortnight prior to Round 1 will catch up with the team at some stage?
PG: We certainly understand what travel costs us physically. Both we and the Warriors do more travel than anyone so we know what it costs in terms of physical fatigue so we've got a pretty good handle on what we can and can't do with them around that travel.
There are plenty of pluses. It will be a great experience for some of our young guys to go over and experience some of the English crowds and playing against Leeds at Leeds will be a highlight of most of the boys' careers I would say.
We're looking at it as a chance to spend a bit of time together, this for us will be our pre-season camp.
NRL.com: Will the team get a chance to experience more than just football while they are in England?
PG: Definitely. We're getting there early enough so that we can recover from the flight and use those first few days to do a bit of sightseeing around London. A lot of the boys haven't been there before and we'll do a bit of training but that's more about getting over the flight. I've given them a bit of time off to see some of the sights and then we've managed to find a day off once we get into Leeds too so I'm sure there will be some things around there that the boys will be interested in doing.
NRL.com: What is a fully-fit Matt Scott capable of producing in 2016?
PG: Hopefully he goes a bit better than last year!
The neck surgery went really well and he's been training really well so it's a good thing.
He's a bit freer in what he can do at training and he's been able to get a really good pre-season under his belt which he probably hasn't been able to do for a long time.
He's either been playing rep footy or he's had to manage different injuries so this pre-season was probably no different given he had such a big operation but his recovery went really well and he was able to get himself back to where he needed to be pretty quickly.
He's done some good work and he's looking well, looking good.
NRL.com: We have some rule changes with regards to the interchange and stoppages this year, do you expect the game to change much as a result?
PG: Obviously it will change, there have been some significant changes to the rules but how much of an impact that has I don't think anyone will really know until we get half a dozen or so games into the season.
NRL.com: Does the balance of the bench become a more intricate exercise?
PG: Until we know exactly how it impacts the game it's too early to say but I think everyone is probably looking at some different options in how they use the bench and we're no different.
NRL.com: How do you challenge yourself this year? Where does the motivation come from personally?
PG: I'm no different to the players. I'm only two years into my NRL coaching career so I'm constantly looking to be better and try and improve myself wherever I can, look for ways to improve us as a club and as a team.
We're in there amongst it with everyone else fighting for the comp and they're not easy to win. Every other club has been working hard to improve so we need to do the same.