North Queensland Toyota Cowboys coach Paul Green has targeted the team's preparation ahead of Monday night’s game against the Melbourne Storm at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Green said in his media conference announcing the round 4 team today that the squad has focused plenty on their defence during training after the Broncos ran in eight tries against them at Suncorp Stadium.
“We’ve been nowhere near our standards, particularly defensively, and it’s important to get that fixed sooner rather than later.
“We’ve got experienced guys who’ve played a lot of footy at the top level and we’re the first to admit that we’re not playing up to our standards, but particularly defensively.”
Green has made two changes to the run-on side that was beaten 44-22 by the Broncos last Friday night.
Matthew Wright will return to play on the right wing, while Antonio Winterstein's inclusion on the left is expected to bolster their defence.
“He started training yesterday and trained really well. I imagine he’ll be right to go by the end of the week,” Green said of Winterstein.
The coach was full of praise for Tautau Moga, who played his first NRL game of the season last week, with the hulking centre producing a solid performance against Brisbane.
“I thought Tau had his best game for us on the weekend. I thought he was dangerous when he carried the football.
“He certainly got our sets started at the back there as well, and that’s what we need from him.”
Melbourne has won six of their past eight games against North Queensland in Townsville – their last, a 22-0 loss in round 12 last season.
But the Cowboys coach knows Craig Bellamy’s side are too good to take for granted.
“They’ve got a couple of good forwards in McLean and Bromwich playing pretty well, speed out wide with Koroibete," he said.
The Storm game is the first of six Monday night matches for the North Queensland side ahead of round 20.
“Sometimes the longer turnarounds are trickier to get right, sometimes you can do a little bit too much work, you think you’ve got plenty of time ahead of the next game," the coach said.
"Sometimes you can overcook a bit so we’ve changed what we’ve done this week with respect to our prep.”