Neil Henry has been given six weeks to save his coaching career.
It has been said the North Queensland coach will be punted if he is unable to immediately turn around the fortunes of the under performing club.
The ruthless nature of life as a coach in the NRL was highlighted when Brisbane’s Ivan Henjak was sacked this week before a ball had been kicked in the 2011 premiership. Ironically, his replacement, assistant coach Anthony Griffin, had been earmarked as a target for the Cowboys if Henry suffers the same fate.
Like Henjak, Henry has a strained relationship with senior players. Despite denials from both parties, it is an open secret that there has been friction with star playmaker Johnathan Thurston. The Cowboys are yet to confirm whether Thurston will retain the captaincy.
There is no shortage of potential replacements with Wayne Bennett, Ricky Stuart, Michael Maguire, Mal Meninga, Daniel Anderson, Nathan Brown and Jason Taylor among those available.
The Cowboys have made significant changes to their management, coaching structure and playing roster in an attempt to reverse their fortunes. Phil Gould, the most successful NSW coach in Origin history, was consulted as part of an off-season review of the club.