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'Work to do': McLean says Cowboys far from finished product

The groundwork created in the NRL pre-season and opening two weeks of the competition can be carried into the season when it restarts, according to North Queensland prop Jordan McLean.

After becoming NRL Nines champions in February, the Cowboys' 1-1 start prior to the season's shutdown came with a loss on home turf to the Broncos, before a successful fly-in, fly-out mission against the Bulldogs at an empty ANZ Stadium.

Scott Drinkwater's combination with Michael Morgan was two games into development, while star recruits Valentine Holmes and Esan Marsters will quickly need to settle when the competition resumes in a revamped, shortened format.

The former international said the previous form guide would go out the window but that teams who produced inconsistent performances early would be quickly out of the finals race after the Telstra Premiership's proposed May 28 restart.

"We're not taking anything out of being 1-1, it's not a bad start, better than being zero from two so hopefully we can keep going and getting a few more wins," McLean told

"I'm sure when other teams get back to training too they will be as keen as the next team.

Green backs Cowboys to meet challenge of possible relocation

"For a while there it was hard to get motivated and train for something that you didn't know whether you would get back.

"Having a date there definitely gives you more motivation. Once we get the OK to come back and train I think we've got a lot of work to do."

Cowboys coach Paul Green indicated earlier in the week he would have to change his tactics around the players' preparation and overall input during a game if the competition was reduced in rounds.

"We don't know the make-up but if it was a significantly shorter season it would change the way you approach it," Green said.

"You've got less time to work on teamwork. Form is very important. It will change how you prepare players and approach games as well.

"We've got some good results in three weeks [but] it's hard to know until you know physically where they're at."

Meanwhile, McLean has spent the past month settled on his family's property on the outskirts of Townsville as he links with Cowboys teammate Ben Hampton for training.

He's set to remain in Townsville until at least the end of 2022 after activating a player option in his contract prior to round one in March.

"That's all been sorted, my manager got it all done so as far as I know it's all good," he said.

Last time they met: Bulldogs v Cowboys - Round 2, 2020

"It's been good to be home with my two young kids and partner but one is ready to go back to school because they're starting to fight a bit.

"It would be nice to get back into normality. I didn't mind the fly in and out option [for away games].

"Most players after games don't sleep too well after games with the adrenaline so jumping on the plane and getting back late that morning you lose that time after a game anyway of staying awake."

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