Coach Paul Green says the focus of his North Queensland NRL squad has moved off last Friday night’s controversial loss to Manly and on to the round eight clash with Parramatta at 1300SMILES Stadium this Saturday.
After being given two full days off after returning from Sydney on Saturday afternoon, the Cowboys returned to skills training at the stadium today with almost the full squad in action.
Centre Kane Linnett, who missed the Manly game due a bulging disc in his back, completed the full session and has been named in a revamped squad of 19 to face the Eels.
His return pushes Matthew Wright back to the wing, forcing Kyle Feldt back to the Northern Pride, while Ray Thompson will take over at halfback from Robert Lui.
Anthony Mitchell, Ethan Lowe and Joel Riethmuller have been named on a six-man bench.
The fallout from the Cowboys’ agonising loss to the Eagles continued today when NRL head of football Todd Greenberg admitted video referee Paul Mellor had erred in allowing a try by Manly's Kieran Foran even though Ray Thompson had clearly been obstructed by Eagles forward Jamie Buhrer in the lead-up.
Mellor was dropped from the video ref panel for this week.
The other video ref from the Manly match, Bernard Sutton, who reportedly did not have input into the “no try” decision, was allocated two matches in round eight.
“It certainly doesn’t get the two points back,” coach Green said when asked if Greenberg’s admission 'eased the pain' from the Good Friday defeat.
“It’s not a good situation but we’re just worrying about what we can control and move on – that’s getting ready to play Parramatta.
“They’ve been in pretty good form this year so far so we’re going to have our hands full there this weekend.
“For us, that’s the main focus.”
Greenberg and NRL referees’ boss Tony Archer are expected at Cowboys HQ this weekend to discuss the recent refereeing controversies involving the club.
“Our fans, supporters and sponsors deserve to know that the NRL is concerned about what’s happening and they are concerned about our club,” Green said.
“Our fans just want to know they’re getting a fair rub of the green.
“Hopefully they can portray that with whatever they say this weekend.”