Veteran duo on standby for Cowboys clash
IF they are to pull themselves out of a form slump, Cowboys coach Paul Green says that will only happen together.
The under-fire mentor has been backed by his players and the club to rejuvenate their season, which has been put under the microscope following three straight losses.
After their capitulation in the first half against Wests Tigers last week an animated Green was seen laying down the law to his team - the result a second-half turnaround which added respectability to the scoreline.
But it did not excuse their opening 40 minutes, he said, and now was the time to come together and get to the bottom of why they have been unable to churn out a full 80 minute effort.
"I don't like having to be like that, but I think the point needed to be made and I'm not sure if the players were aware of the points that needed to be made," Green said.
"What we don't need is excuses, we need some actions and that halftime was about making sure everyone was clear on how we get ourselves back into it.
"I think our review of the game was fairly open, honest and direct. Certainly individuals took some accountability, but it's all of us.
"I need to be better, the coaching staff need to be better, the players need to be better. The only way you find that missing piece, there's no magic formula, it's hard work.
"You know when you get it, you know when you don't, and you only get it together."
Green has named an unchanged starting 13 to take on the Newcastle Knights this weekend at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
It presents an opportunity for those players to redeem themselves in front of a small home crowd, after Cowboys forward Josh McGuire called out his teammates to get their act together on Monday.
Young hooker Reuben Cotter has moved onto the bench at the expense of Corey Jensen.
Injured vice-captain Jordan McLean has been named on an extended bench as he seeks to overcome a calf injury, while veteran hooker Jake Granville has also earned a spot in the squad.
The attitude of his premiership-winning No. 9 has been most impressive for Green.
For so long a staple pick in the side, Granville has fallen out of favour in the past three weeks as Reece Robson established himself as the side's number one rake.
However Green said the ever professional 31-year-old had set the standard the young brigade at the club needed to follow.
While the coach would relish the chance to bring back his casualty ward - highlighted by star duo Michael Morgan and Valentine Holmes - he said skill did not replace work ethic both on and off the field and Granville had led the way in that regard.
"He's been a great example for our young guys. A guy who has been in our team for a long time and obviously no one likes being left out," Green said.
"He didn't complain or whinge, his attitude has been outstanding and his training has been too.
"He's been a great example for our young guys on how to deal with a bit of adversity."
"We've got a fair bit of talent on the sideline at the moment so it'd be handy to have a couple of those guys back.
"But I think you don't need talent or skill to bring energy and to have effort. That's really what we're looking for, that's the biggest area of improvement for us to put ourselves in the contest."
Cowboys team v Knights
1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow; 2. Kyle Feldt; 3. Justin O'Neill; 4. Esan Marsters; 5. Connelly Lemuelu; 6. Scott Drinkwater; 7. Jake Clifford; 8. Francis Molo; 9. Reece Robson; 10. Josh McGuire; 11. Mitch Dunn; 12. Coen Hess; 13. Jason Taumalolo (c); 14. Ben Hampton; 15. Gavin Cooper; 16. Peter Hola; 17. Reuben Cotter; 18. Tom Opacic; 19. Shane Wright; 20. Jordan McLean; 21. Jake Granville