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Knights centre Jesse Ramien.

North Queensland coach Paul Green said the club would have a conversation with unsigned centre Jesse Ramien at some stage, claiming the former Sharks and Knights centre "fits the bill".

The Cowboys are out of finals reckoning and already planning how to improve the playing roster for 2020.

Ramien joined the Knights from the Sharks this season but fell out with Newcastle coach Nathan Brown last month and has been given permission to speak to rival clubs.

He has been linked to a return the Sharks and is also rumoured to be heading to the Roosters.

The Cowboys have struggled for scoring punch in their outside backs all year and Ramien looms as a logical recruiting target.

“He fits the bill for us, it's a position we need to get stronger in," Green said.

"He's a good young player, so we’ll no doubt at some stage have a conversation with him."

Green doesn’t deny interest in Ramien

Jordan McLean has been named to start at prop after missing last week's game with a calf complaint.

Peter Hola is on standby again if McLean isn't passed fit on game day.

Matt Scott starts at the other prop spot in place of Josh McGuire, who is suspended for three weeks.

McGuire has become the victim of death threats and online abuse which resulted in him approaching the club, raising concerns for his mental well-being.

“No doubt it's been tough for him," Green said.

Mcguire upset, but not seeking sympathy

"In saying that, he's not the sort of guy that's asking for sympathy. What you see is what you get with him. But it doesn't mean you ignore it either.

“There's no doubt what's happened so far has upset him and his family. He's our responsibility as a club and we’re going to make sure his health and well-being is just as important as everything else.

“We make sure he's got the proper support. I'm not trained as a psychologist, but I'm there as his coach and also a friend. I offer him whatever support I think he needs.”

Green said McGuire understands he needs to make a couple of changes after his third charge this season alone for similar offences.

“Josh is not shying away from the situation, he’s disappointed because he put himself in that position and he feels he's probably put a bit more pressure on the team because of it," he said.

"He's got to deal with that in his own way, but we're there to support him and he's fully accountable for what's happened and we don't want him to be a different person.

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“We signed him to be that type of player. I'm not saying that it was intentional and I'm not saying we instructed him to head down that track. He probably dodged a bullet earlier in the year and they’ve been determined to make sure he doesn't do it again.”

Jordan Kahu will make his long-awaited return after being sidelined since the Cowboys' 15-12 win over the Roosters in Round 17.

Green was tempted to name Kahu in the centres but decided to keep Coen Hess there for a fourth straight week.

“I think Hessy’s been doing a pretty good job there, it’s not obviously long term," he said.

"It's not where we see him as a player, but I think at the moment we’re just trying to pick our best players, and he's doing a good job for us.”

With a disrupted season through injury and off-contract at season’s end, Green said Kahu will want to finish the season strong with the potential of playing himself into another deal with the club.

“We're working through our recruitment at the moment. He hasn't let anyone down," he said.

Tackle of the week: Round 21

"We're all disappointed with where we're at. I think it's important we finish as well as we possibly can, so he's [Kahu] no different to anyone else."

Green expects to make subtle changes to his team in preparation for next year’s campaign.

However he ruled out wholesale changes and puts this season down to the high injury toll which has had an impact on key positions and combinations.

“We want to finish this year off as well as we can, so you don't just throw everything out the window and just blood all rookies and lose games you possibly could’ve won either. It's about getting the balance right," he said.

"I think we need to make a couple of changes, which we’re looking at, but the biggest thing is having close to our best team on the park each week. That's probably what's hurt us.

“I think we've had about eight different combinations between the one, six, seven and nine this year. It makes it more challenging to get some consistency with how you play.”

Hardworking hooker Jake Granville will find some relief in the form of Reuben Cotter, who’s claimed a spot on the interchange bench to play his third NRL game for the club.

Green said Granville ‘loses a bit of zip’ as the game goes on, even though he can play a full 80 minutes.

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“Jake does a really good job for us. His defensive workload’s enormous and teams tend to run at him too, he’s probably the smallest guy through the middle in our pack," Green said.

“We've also got some guys that can play longer minutes through the middle, which takes a bit of pressure off your rotation.

“Reuben will do whatever he's asked. His fitness is not an issue for him and he's a really good competitor.”

Green will monitor McLean during the week.

“He hasn't trained. We’ll do our main prep day (on Wednesday)," he said.

"We’ll see how he goes there and then do the final practice down in Newcastle.”

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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