North Queensland Cowboys second-row forward Gavin Cooper.

New coach curse on Cowboys' radar

Whether it's because the pressure is back on the players, or the players just want to escape the off-field drama, a new coach in the NRL can cause a team that's struggling to play well.

The North Queensland Cowboys are wary of this fact leading up to the clash with the Wests Tigers, who have recently appointed Ivan Cleary as head coach. 

Their job will be made that much harder by the loss of hooker Jake Granville, and possibly fullback Lachlan Coote due to injury.

Coach Paul Green spoke about his concerns for the game at the team announcement on Tuesday, where it was revealed that Granville had broken his fibula. 

"It's a real danger game for us. They've had a lot of disruptions so far this year and one thing about when you're under pressure off the field, players can really bond together when they get on the field," Green said. 

"The Tigers will come up here, they’ve got a new coach, they'll be trying to impress him, he's a good coach. I'm concerned about this game, we'll have to make sure we're on."

Green has been conveying the message to his players through the week, and it seems to be sinking in. Second-rower Gavin Cooper spoke about the Cowboys' preparation on Wednesday. 

"Any team that's gone through the sort of off-field drama that they've gone through, to get a win on the board and really gel together as a team that's what will bring morale back for the boys," Cooper said of the Tigers. 

"Ivan is probably going to come in and change a few things, maybe not this week, but you'll see some changes in time and whether that's in personnel or the way they play. That's what they've got Ivan there to do.

"One thing that is a pre-requisite at any club is effort and that's what I can guarantee they'll be bringing for a new coach."

The Cowboys will be eager to keep their winning form at home, after being ambushed 30-8 by Manly in Round 3 in what was by far their worst performance of the season. They have since beaten the Titans away and the Rabbitohs at home and are after a hat-trick of wins.

The Wests Tigers are on a four-game losing streak after beating the Rabbitohs in Round 1, and have scored an average of just seven points per game in their last four matches.