Stung by criticism, North Queensland coach Paul Green has demanded the battling Cowboys finally show some pride in their jersey in Saturday’s NRL clash with Newcastle in Townsville.
Green is feeling the heat after the Cowboys trailed 34-0 at halftime last round against Wests Tigers before slumping to their third straight defeat.
A victory will no doubt help silence the outside noise swirling about his future.
But Green said his priority was doing the Cowboys jersey proud after admitting he was concerned that his players’ attitude was questioned following the Tigers clash.
“It (criticism) doesn’t worry me. It is part of the game these days, not to say I like it,” Green said.
“(But) that first half (against Tigers) is not what we want to be about.
“That should be motivation to make sure we don’t ever have anyone question us as a team and how much the jersey means – that (criticism) is what stings the most.”
Green admitted a win wouldn’t hurt either.
“A win fixes a lot of things in footy but it will be more how we play,” he said.
“(And) we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves either – the season is far from being a disaster for us.
“A good win on the weekend and it (criticism) will stop for a week at least.
“If we string a few wins together who knows what might happen.”
A victory for 10th-placed North Queensland will be easier said than done against top three outfit Newcastle.
But Green said the early signs were good.
“I have seen a change in urgency and intensity in training this week which is what you want to see,” he said.
“Where we have been questioned the most has been attitude and pride in performance.
“We can only answer that on the footy field but training has been good this week.”
North Queensland have received another boost with prop Jordan McLean set to overcome a calf injury and start in Saturday’s game which will boast up to 2000 fans.
The Cowboys need all the help they can get as they tackle a horror stretch where they play top eight teams Parramatta, Sydney Roosters, Penrith, Manly and Canberra after Newcastle.
* The Cowboys have won six of the past nine matches against Newcastle
* The Knights will be aiming for five wins or more from their opening seven games for the first time since 2013
* Newcastle are conceding the fewest ruck infringements (1.8 per game)