Rookie coach Paul Green has lost patience with his Cowboys after four straight defeats, dropping two for Monday night’s NRL clash against Newcastle.
North Queensland coach Paul Green has wielded the axe as he attempts to clean up his under-performing team’s mistake-riddled play against Newcastle in Monday night’s NRL match.
Green has dropped winger Kyle Feldt and his oldest forward, Glenn Hall, for what is a crucial home clash as the Cowboys attempt to get their season back on track.
The rookie head coach lost patience after four straight defeats, capped by a forgettable display in last week’s 13-12 upset loss to Gold Coast.
Feldt paid the price for continued poor handling – especially against the Titans – with former Cronulla back Matt Wright promoted to the right wing.
“Errors have been killing us,” Green said.
“To be fair, Kyle has had a few errors in his game for all the games we’ve played.”
The 33-year-old Hall lost his place on the bench to workhorse lock Joel Riethmuller, an unsung hero of the Cowboys’ 2013 season revival, who is expected to provide more energy.
Although two changes have been made and skipper Johnathan Thurston is crying out for more playmaking support, Green has put all his troops on notice.
“I think it’s across the board, everyone needs to play better,” he said. “It’s with the simple things we are letting ourselves down.”
While the star-studded Cowboys don’t want to repeat their horror first half of last season, the tightness of the competition means a welcome win would put them on the fringes of the top eight.
Newcastle showed how dangerous they can be with a 30-0 thumping of Cronulla, their first win of the season, last week when they dedicated their game to hospitalised forward Alex McKinnon.
The intriguing factor is whether the Knights continue to play with such emotion.
“It’s obviously had a huge effect on their team, but how it impacts on them going forward I’m not sure,” Green said.
“It’s a tough competition. You need to be at or near your best week-in, week-out – they’re no different to any other team so we have to play well.”
The comeback of Knights playmaker Jarrod Mullen has been gathering pace as well as whispers that he could make a surprise return from his torn hamstring on Monday night.
But Newcastle officials stressed Mullen did not travel north with the 18-man squad named on Tuesday.