North Queensland Cowboys training at 1300Smiles Stadium. Johnathan Thurston and coach Paul Green. Picture: Evan Morgan
North Queensland Cowboys training at 1300Smiles Stadium. Johnathan Thurston and coach Paul Green. Picture: Evan Morgan

Green confident halves will click

COWBOYS coach Paul Green is confident star halves pairing Michael Morgan and Johnathan Thurston will soon find their mojo, labelling concerns over their slow start to the year as "ridiculous".

Morgan revealed after last week's home loss to Penrith that he had confided in Thurston on what he requires from him to improve their combination.

The Cowboys squad returned to training today after four days off to mentally recharge before they taken on the unbeaten Warriors in Auckland on Saturday.

North Queensland has lost its past three games but Green is confident it won't be long until the halves click.

Michael Morgan and Johnathan Thurston at training. Picture: Evan Morgan
Michael Morgan and Johnathan Thurston at training. Picture: Evan Morgan

Thurston missed most of last year with a shoulder injury, while Morgan sat out the first two games this season with a stomach issue.

"They're both good players and there's no reason to have any doubt about that. It's a little bit ridiculous to be talking about it, to be honest," Green said.

"They're both good players, their combination will click. Morgo's second game back (against Penrith), I thought he put himself in the game more than the first game.

"If he keeps improving eventually it will click for us, and watch out when it does.

"He (Morgan) is not confused about his role, it's not the issue. In some ways they're too nice for each other, neither one wants to step on the other's toes.

"They've just got to play footy and support each other and help other, that's the main issue."

Scott Bolton returns to the starting side. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Scott Bolton returns to the starting side. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Scott Bolton returns to the starting side in place of big name recruit Jordan McLean, who is set to miss at least three months with an ankle injury, with Corey Jensen promoted to the bench.

Fullback Lachlan Coote was named as a reserve after making his return from a hamstring injury for Mackay Cutters last week.

But Green indicated he is most likely to play at least one more Queensland Cup match before being recalled to the NRL.

"Yes he is (under consideration), (but) I'd say just give him another game to get that confidence in his hamstring," Green said.

"I'll talk to him through the week and see how training pans out."

The Warriors are likely to be boosted by the return of star halfback Shaun Johnson, who missed Saturday's shock 30-6 win over the Roosters with a groin injury.

While the loss of McLean is a big blow, the Cowboys proved they can handle injuries to big names by making last year's grand final.

"I've got full confidence in Bolts (Bolton). Even coming off the bench last weekend he was one of our best players out there," Green said.

"I'm really disappointed for Jordan, he was a big signing for us but I'm confident in the guys that will come in."

Green couldn't confirm whether hooker Josh Chudleigh had ruptured his ACL for a third time in Queensland Cup last week, but conceded it's likely.

"They think it's an ACL but it hasn't been completely confirmed yet," Green said.

"It's tragic for him, he's a great fella and really popular among the playing group. We were all pleased to see him get back on the paddock, it's terrible for him."

Cowboys team to play Warriors: 1 Ben Hampton, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O'Neill, 4 Javid Bowen, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston, 8 Matt Scott, 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo, 14 Te Maire Martin, 15 John Asiata, 16 Corey Jensen, 17 Ethan Lowe, 18 Francis Molo, 19 Lachlan Coote, 20 Enari Tuala, 21 Kyle Laybutt



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