Coote opens up on feud with Green
Lachlan Coote was released by North Queensland to make way for Ben Barba, but the fullback admits he is glad to be out of Townsville as the Cowboys come to terms with sacking his successor.
Coote made his St Helens debut in their season-opening 22-12 defeat of Wigan last week, just hours before Barba was sacked 15,000km away in Townsville for an off-field incident involving his partner.
Effectively, the duo completed a straight swap, with St Helens granting Barba a release on compassionate grounds last August, paving the way for Coote to resurrect his career in England after being unwanted by the Cowboys.While Barba was a revelation at Saints, Coote has made a promising start, amassing 83 metres from 13 runs and producing one tackle bust in his side's 10-point defeat of the defending premiers.
Coote's four-season tenure in Townsville was bittersweet.
He played a key role in the Cowboys' maiden premiership victory in 2015, only to eventually fall out of favour with coach Paul Green, playing just nine games last season after being axed to the Intrust Super Cup.
As Barba digests the ramifications of a life ban from the NRL, Coote - the man shown the door to accommodate the fallen Dally M star - admits he needed to move on after strained relations with Green.
"I was happy to get out of there," said Coote, a 166-game NRL veteran who played fullback in North Queensland's epic grand final defeat of the Broncos.
"It was disappointing with the year I had, not seeing eye-to-eye with the coach and then with the injuries.
"It's been good to come over here and freshen up with a new start."
Coote was hoping to finish his career at the Cowboys, but that plan unravelled when North Queensland hierarchy refused to table a new deal for the 28-year-old.
Part of Coote's salary helped fund the acquisition of Barba, who clinched the Super League's Man of Steel award last season with some sizzling displays for Saints.
Now content at his new club, Coote laments the Cowboys' dismal 2018 campaign and the crushing finale for North Queensland's greatest player, retired playmaker Johnathan Thurston.
"It was tough," Coote said.
"With the squad that we had we definitely didn't deserve to go out the way we did.
"It was very disappointing to finish a year, or an era, like that the way we did.
"To see 'Johnno' in his last year not make the semi-finals was a bit disappointing.
"But that's just the way things go. It's not always a fairytale ending."
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