TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Cowboys coach Paul Green looks on before the start of the round three NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Sydney Roosters at 1300SMILES Stadium on March 17, 2016 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

North Queensland Cowboys are facing selection woes as coach Paul Green looks for an answer at fullback after Ben Barba was recently banished by the team.

In addition to the search for a reliable No. 1 option, the recent floods throughout Townsville and the surrounding suburbs has caused turmoil for the Cowboys training schedule – forcing them onto school ovals and basketball courts.

“We haven’t trained for two weeks, properly,” Green told the club website.

“The timing has been really challenging, but there are a couple of guys that have played there before and there are also some guys there that have the skill to do a good job there that haven’t played there since junior footy.”

With only a small timeline to find Barba’s replacement, the Cowboys may potentially look to the open market to find their full-back for the beginning of the season.

Green would also take Te Maire Martin or Ben Hampton into consideration.

“Going to market is an option but we just have to make sure whatever way we go is the right thing for us.”

Disruptions to the Cowboys training routine set them back for the build-up to their opening trial matches. The Cowboys will travel to the Sunshine Coast to play the Gold Coast Titans next Saturday, followed by a second trial against the Melbourne Storm on March 2.

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Green was eager to give plenty of minutes to the younger crop of players for the Titans trial, however he is now looking to field veteran Cowboys to help decide who will fill that full-back role and get his side back on track.

“Had we not have had the disruption or the two weeks where we were affected by the rain, I probably would have played a lot more rookies.” Green said.

25 COMMENTS

  1. 1. Karma visits Green for his disgraceful treatment of Ponga.
    2. If the cowboys play any wet weather footy this year they might be hard to beat.
    3. The 7. Morgan 6.Te Maire Martin halves combination should not be dismantled after they marched into the 2017 grand final
    4. Could it be Johnston will be getting out of soufffths by this time next week now that Bennett has two players in front of him at fullback.
    πŸ’ͺπŸ”πŸ‘

    • 2’s a bit distasteful isn’t it Woody? Come on. Three and Four I agree with though. Te Maire will be back to his best, although honestly don’t be surprised to see him at Fullback with Clifford taking his place in the halves. My honest prediction is that Ben Hampton will get number 1, and from what we saw of him in 2018, absolutely tear it up…

      • Not really, I think number 1 Green was disrespectful for the brilliant talent he had at his disposal with the superstar Ponga and refused to play him. Maybe its a Queensland thing when they want out of their club, Bennett did the same to Hodges and played him in reserves at Brisbane but when he moved to Sydney Roosters they threw him straight into first grade and he played three Grand Finals in a row.

        The soggy conditions the Cowboys have to train in might give the players some muscle memory for when they play in wet weather throughout this season. πŸ’ͺπŸ”πŸ‘

  2. Give it a season and you can make a big push for Val Holmes. Otherwise there’s Alex Johnson. Could always try steal a youngster away from the Dragons they have Dufty, Feild, and Sailor all on expiring deals and could be worth taking one and having him compete with GGM for a spot

  3. Bevan french is ok the problem is the coach has been playing him fullback one week centre the next then left right out two game after that. Poor kid doesn’t know what he’s doing.
    Haynes was your biggest joke, the sooner he’s out of the game the better he is all about himself.
    the eels didn’t have the best year last year , but it can only get better specially with Norman gone he was just another problem 2.

    • Dutto78, I agree, we didn’t do ourselves any favours swapping players positions as much as we did, and in particular with Gutho, but also French and others. That said, a lot was filling gaps created by injuries etc, but bottom line, probably too much ” during the season experimenting”.

      Re French leaving this year. Maybe. He’s certainly made it clear he wants to play FB, as has Gutho, and both are off contract this year, so if we have to lose 1, either now or at the end of the year, I’d rather lose French now, rather than continuing to develop him, only to lose him at the end of the season anyway.

      The other variable in this (French leaving) is our salary cap. We are currently, based on our current squad and assuming we make up numbers (to 30) by promoting development players, too far under the cap and would be in breach, even without losing French. I think any move will be very dependant on who we are lining up.

  4. No offence , but Te Maire Martin is a terrible 5/8th. He has pace & that’s about all. Few skills outside of that. The same reason the Cowboys moved him to fullback. They’d be better off to go with Clifford at 5/8th.
    They’d be stuck with the options for fullback that they have now, if other clubs aren’t willing to release anyone & why should they?

    • Well a lot of Western Sydney teams can say exactly the same thing. Brisbane is now starting to get a lot of its players from NSW.
      If the new halfback O’Sullivan works out well up there, say thanks to Penrith.