Coote back for Cowboys but Hampton survives
North Queensland fullback Lachlan Coote has done enough to bounce back from the Intrust Super Cup to regain the No.1 jersey but Ben Hampton has surprisingly kept a spot in the run-on side.
It was expected Hampton would be demoted to the bench utility role when Coote was fit enough to return to the NRL side after his start to the season was hampered by a hamstring injury.
However, Hampton has done enough with his energetic performances to maintain a position in the starting side, moving to centre, with Javid Bowen dropping to the reserves list.
The fullback will bring some additional experience to the Cowboys, and won't have any mental problems with his hamstring, according to coach Paul Green.
"He's got two full games under his belt now so he's got confidence in that hamstring so that won't be an issue for him," Green said.
"I think his positional play will be handy for us and probably just his talk will help overall."
Coote is well known for his talk at the back, and Green is hopeful he'll help prevent any soft tries when the Cowboys host Canterbury on Saturday.
"As a team we need to prevent cheap tries, that's probably been happening too much, I've said all along we've been conceding too many tries, hopefully Coote will help that… but they're not Ben Hampton's fault," he said.
Hampton's performance at the back over the first five rounds has been impressive, keeping himself busy around the ball and scoring against the New Zealand Warriors last week.
"He certainly brings plenty of energy and he's quick… there's certainly things Ben brings to the team and I've probably gone for a bit of experience there as opposed to a few of the younger options.
"He's probably played more first grade in the centres than he has any other position, so I've got full confidence he'll do the job."
Green is also hopeful Hampton would help Johnathan Thurston in defence, who has been a prime target for attacking teams in his return from injury.
"We're trying to build some confidence in our game and having the more experienced players out there will help with that," he said.