Testing times in battle for spots

Toyota Cowboys coach Paul Green says he has “a fair idea” of what his lineup will be for his debut NRL match in charge of North Queensland, but there are still places to be won over the next month.

The Cowboys play their first pre-season trial this weekend against Brisbane in Redcliffe before a 16-man squad heads to Auckland for the inaugural NRL Nines followed by the closing trial against Gold Coast in Toowoomba.

When that schedule is complete, there will be a final week of training for Green to watch before he has to finalise his round one squad.

“I still want to see how some guys go (in the trials),” Green said today when asked if he had settled on his team to meet Canberra on 8 March.

“There’s a few spots up for grabs so the trials form will certainly play a part.”

With a 22-man squad named to face the Broncos, the only players not seeing some field time this weekend are the Cowboys’ four Kangaroos World Cup representatives – Matt Scott, Johnathan Thurston, Brent Tate and James Tamou – plus Ray Thompson, Gavin Cooper, Joel Riethmuller and injured duo Michael Morgan and Hezron Murgha.