Paul Green says the beleaguered Cowboys’ injury and form woes have given them a perfect opportunity to show their true colours.
Slated as NRL premiership contenders once again this year, North Queensland’s season is on the ropes following their 36-28 loss to last-placed Newcastle on Monday night.
They sit in 11th place, are two wins out of the top eight, have lost their last seven matches away from Townsville, and are missing key men Brent Tate (knee, season), Matt Scott (cheekbone, six weeks) and Ray Thompson (hamstring).
Speaking on Wednesday, Green had no time for suggestions the club was undergoing an injury crisis as they prepared to face South Sydney at home on Saturday night.
“It’s not a crisis, it’s footy,” the coach said in Townsville.
“It’s a tough part of the year for us. We always knew this would be a tough period, it’s just been made a bit more tougher with the injuries we have.
“But it gives us an opportunity to show what character we have.
“We’re working hard, we’re determined to get the job done and this is another opportunity for us this Saturday.”
In a bid to snap the Cowboys out of their rut, Green has moved captain Johnathan Thurston from five-eighth to halfback.
“It won’t change how we play a hell of a lot but hopefully wearing the No.7 on his back will provide a bit more direction,” he said.
“I think it will hopefully bring him a bit closer to the action.”
But Green denied any desperation measures and stressed it was their defence, which leaked seven tries against the Knights, that needed most improvement.
“It’s still week-to-week, there’s certainly know panic stations yet,” he said.
“We have to defend a bit better and stick tight.”