Green tight-lipped over Martin v Clifford tussle to partner Morgan

North Queensland coach Paul Green was keeping his cards close to his chest when asked who would partner Michael Morgan in the halves for round one after their 14-6 win against the Storm in Mackay on Saturday night.

The main talking point for the Cowboys after wrapping up their pre-season campaign with a 14-6 triumph over the Storm was who would play alongside Morgan in the wake of Johnathan Thurston's retirement.

They kick off their Telstra Premiership campaign against St George Illawarra in Townsville on March 16.

Te Maire Martin and Jake Clifford are locked in a two-horse race for the five-eighth's role but Green said he would consider his options over the next week before announcing who would get the gig.

“Jake Clifford and Ta Maire shared a game, they're pretty neck and neck. I thought they both had some good touches,” Green said.

Green was impressed with former Broncos star Jordan Kahu's first game for the club at fullback after his recent switch while Mitch Dunn caught the coach's eye.

“[Kahu] has played the majority of his footy recently in the centres but he has played fullback so I thought he had some nice touches," Green said.

“[Dunn] has played an unfamiliar roll there at hooker so he’s an option for us off the bench. He can play in a number of positions for us."

Cowboys five-eighth Te Maire Martin.
Cowboys five-eighth Te Maire Martin. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Green experimented in the trial against the Storm with the option of playing Tongan international lock Jason Taumalolo in the second row but was again coy on whether he would keep his star forward on the edge for round one.

“To get the first half out is a pretty good effort. He was pretty good,” Green said.

With less than two weeks left until round one of the competition, Green said he got what he wanted out of the Mackay trial.

"I was mainly focusing on our defensive effort tonight. Whilst we're happy with tonight's performance we understand we have still got a bit of work to do,” Green said.

"It was probably a typical trial but in saying that I was reasonably pleased with how we played. The tougher parts of the game, in particular defending our try line, I thought we were pretty good.

"We put ourselves under pressure with some simple errors but we defended it off the back it which was good to see."