Cowboys coach Paul Green has swung the axe. (Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Cowboys coach Paul Green has swung the axe. (Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Coach wants more action from battling Cowboys

COWBOYS coach Paul Green has demanded his players put their talk into action against the New Zealand Warriors tomorrow night as they look to salvage their premiership hopes.

Green has finally wielded the selection axe following North Queensland's worst start to a season since 2010, with Justin O'Neill and Lachlan Coote dropped while Antonio Winterstein (knee) has also been left out of their underperforming backline.

The Warriors have been notoriously poor travellers to Townsville, winning just one of their past 12 games, but the Cowboys have struggled for consistency on their home turf this season.

They've won just two from seven at 1300SMILES Stadium and will be looking to avoid four-straight losses at home for the first time since 2010-2011 when they host the Warriors.

Green has been pleased with his side's efforts at training this week following an error-riddled loss to Parramatta, but he was adamant that they had to start backing that up on game day.

"It's about action tomorrow night. That's what I want to see," Green said following today's captain's run.

"The start's part of that, but sometimes you don't get a good start. It doesn't mean you throw the towel in there and then. We need to be a bit more resilient than that.

"I've changed the team so that'll have an effect and we've done some work to try and be a bit cleaner in that area (with their ball control).

"Training hasn't been our problem recently. You want to have good sessions in the bank, but it's about what we do (tonight)."

The Cowboys are fast running out of time to mount a finals charge and they'll likely need to win nine of their remaining 10 games just to scrape into the top eight.

Only two other teams in history have made the finals after a 4-10 start - the Eels in 2006 and the Sea Eagles in 1998 - but when asked if his team was getting desperate, Green replied with a flat "no".

"We're not playing for pride, we're playing to get the job done (on Friday night). It's as simple as that," the coach said.

"If we keep doing that every week then the finals part will look after itself … we can't take our mind off exactly what's right in front of us."

New Zealand's 9-4 start is the club's best since their breakout 2002 season which saw them capture the minor premiership before qualifying for their maiden grand final appearance.

Winger David Fusitu'a has been in blistering form, with 15 tries from 13 games to be the NRL's leading tryscorer, and Green said the Cowboys were wary of a team with so much strikepower.

"(They're dangerous) if you let them, they've certainly got some talent in there," he said.



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