North Queensland Cowboys training at 1300Smiles Stadium. Coach Paul Green. Picture: Evan Morgan
North Queensland Cowboys training at 1300Smiles Stadium. Coach Paul Green. Picture: Evan Morgan

Cowboys coach wants fast start

COWBOYS coach Paul Green hopes to see a more confident start from his side as they look to find even the slightest advantage over the Broncos in tomorrow night's highly-anticipated showdown at Suncorp Stadium.

The Cowboys and Broncos have forged one of the rugby league's greatest rivalries with eight of the past nine games decided by six points or less including four by exactly one point.

Green described the Cowboys as hesitant in the first half of last weekend's win over the Dragons as they needed 21 tackles in the opposition 20 to come up with their first try after falling behind 6-0.

The Broncos were also sluggish as they trailed 16-0 early in the second half of their loss to the Storm in Melbourne, but Green expected both sides would come out firing tomorrow night.

"I don't think they started too bad. I just think Melbourne probably started better than them, but they're always up for these games so I expect them to come out of the box pretty quick," he said.

"They (Melbourne) controlled the ball, defended well, and dominated field position so that's a pretty good blueprint for any game you're in.

"There's a few areas we could be better. I think we'll need to start better, that's for sure.

"I thought we were a little bit hesitant, a bit nervous, which is understandable round one. We can be better in that area."

Home ground advantage has been a significant factor in the Queensland derby with the home team winning 11 of the past 13 clashes, excluding the 2015 grand final at a neutral venue in Sydney.

Green said the Cowboys were always excited to embrace the atmosphere of a sold out Suncorp Stadium against the Broncos, but he stressed the importance of still focusing on the task at hand.

"I think in big games it's important you don't think you need to do anything special because you don't, you just need to do your job, but do it really well," Green said.

"There's a little bit more intensity in these games I suppose so you need to be ready for that, but it is early in the season too so both teams are probably still finding their way a little bit.

"They're always big clashes and big crowds so everyone gets a bit excited for these games, but we've trained well all week. We don't treat it as any different."

Green has yet to make a final call on whether backrower Gavin Cooper (calf) will return to the starting side tomorrow night, but he expected the veteran would still have a positive impact.

"We'll see how he pulls up from training. He wasn't keen to start from the bench in the first place, but eventually he'll be back in there," Green said.