Cowboys put faith in bolter and Bolton
The Terminator is back and an old warhorse promoted as the North Queensland Cowboys prepare to turn their spluttering season around against the unbeaten New Zealand Warriors.
Australian representative front-rower Jordan McLean is out of action for the at least the next three months with a foot injury, but the Cowboys are confident they can replace him as they look to regain peak form after losing three Telstra Premiership games in a row.
Veteran forward Scott Bolton has been moved to the starting prop position where he played a key role in inspiring the Cowboys to a grand final appearance against the odds last year in Matt Scott's absence.
Rising star Corey Jensen, who high-performance boss Paul Bowman earlier told NRL.com was known as T2 after the Terminator "because he's just a machine", has been promoted from the Intrust Super Cup to the bench where he proved to be a revelation last year with his energy and punch.
Paul Green believes the seasoned veteran and the young gun can do the job in the middle for the struggling Cowboys.
"I've got full confidence in Bolts. Coming off the bench on the weekend, defensively he was one of our best players out there," the coach said.
"He's a different player to Jordan, but we've got full confidence that he can do the job."
"They're not rookies anymore… [Corey] knows what to expect and it's handy to be able to call on that experience."
Green gave a huge wrap to Bolton's defensive ability and his willingness to overcome adversity at the end of last year when he played through an illness that led to him dropping several kilograms at one point.
The Cowboys mentor is also confident wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo's below-average numbers were a result of the lock still warming up into the season.
"It's early season, he's come off a big World Cup so we probably weren't going to see his best footy right at the start of the year," Green said
"Similar to the rest of our team he doesn’t forget how to play, he's hasn't lost his ability or his talent so that's probably a little bit indicative of what happens when you lose a couple of close games, your confidence probably goes down a little bit."
"As a group we just need to fight for a win and once we get a win under our belt and get back on track the confidence will pretty quickly return."
While the loss of McLean is a big one for the Cowboys, Green isn't looking for any one player to fill his representative-level shoes, but rather for a collective lift from his forwards.
"They've just got to do their job, as I say every week, and if they can improve on that it means they're doing a better job, which is a good thing," he said.