Desperate Cowboys search for answers
Cowboys vice-captain Jordan McLean is pushing for an injury comeback this weekend as coach Paul Green casts his eye towards fixing his side's leaky defence.
Green has given his starting 13 a chance to redeem themselves from last weekend's underwhelming 36-20 loss against the Tigers by naming an unchanged starting squad against Newcastle on Saturday.
North Queensland forward Corey Jensen has been left out of the reserves to make way for McLean who looks to make a return from a calf injury in Round 5 against the Warriors.
"We'll give him right up to the game but he's got a few running things he's got to tick off before it's safe for him to return," Green said.
"We won't know that until (later in the week)."
It comes as the club looks to bounce back from a demoralising past three weeks of football, having not won a game since Round 3.
They are also ranked as the NRL's third worst defence, allowing 99 points in their past three games.
When asked whether there had been a bigger focus on defence this week, Green unequivocally said: "yes".
"Our review of the game was fairly open and honest and direct," Green said.
"Some of the blokes took some accountability.
"Again, it's all of us. I need to be better. The coaching staff need to be better. The players need to be better.
"The only way you find that missing piece, there's no magic formula, it's just hard work."
Cowboys hard man Josh McGuire this week and challenged his teammates to improve, starting with the second-placed Knights this weekend.
Green said there were signs of a change in attitude at training.
"Some of what Josh was saying about backing it up on the grass and the areas we need to find, you do that on the training paddock," he said.
"We've only trained on the field today and it was a pretty good session, without being great.
"I've noticed a change in the attitude ... but what really counts is what happens on Saturday night."
Young flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has been named at fullback again this weekend in place of the injured Valentine Holmes, while club captain Michael Morgan remains sidelined as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Originally published as Desperate Cowboys search for answers