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Thurston's absence no excuse: Green

By Dylan Morris‌, North Queensland Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

Thurston,J 170408708

His team may be missing star captain Johnathan Thurston but Cowboys coach Paul Green has made no excuses ahead of North Queensland's clash with the league-leading St George Illawarra Dragons on Saturday night.

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"We fancy our chances, you've got to be careful when there's talk about no pressure, there's still that internal pressure to perform amongst our team and that's the expectation that we set on each other," Green said. 

"You've just got to be careful in those situations that we don't give ourselves a bit of an out… We feel we've prepared well and we're going to give it a crack." 

Green dismissed the idea that the Cowboys would struggle given their poor form in Sydney in recent years. 

"It's no different, I keep saying it every time," he said. 

"Yes there are different things to consider, in terms of prep it makes it a little bit harder, recovery is harder, but it's how you play [that matters]."

‌If the Cowboys are to upset the Dragons their defence will have to improve in leaps and bounds over their previous games.  

"Their forwards are getting them down the field very well, it's pretty simple what they're doing but it's not easy to stop," Green said of the Dragons. 

"They're full of confidence, so [Gareth] Widdop and [Josh] McCrone and those guys are getting off the back of that really good go forward.

"It starts with defence; every game starts with defence, but it's an area we probably haven't been at our best at."  

The Cowboys may also struggle in attack with the absence of Thurston, but Green is confident new halves combination Ben Hampton and Michael Morgan will handle any pressure put on them.  

"It doesn't really worry me, our halves are good defenders, I've got full confidence in them otherwise they wouldn't be there if I didn't," he said. 

First published on NRL.com.

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