‘Aged five years in one off-season’: Green must axe stars
THE North Queensland Cowboys have 15 players off-contract this season but they can't wait another year to change things up, says former Australian international Ben Ikin.
The Fox Sports presenter and former Queensland State of Origin representative is calling on Cowboys coach Paul Green to drop the axe this week on his under-performing team.
After a stellar 2017 season where the Cowboys made an unprecedented run to the grand final despite a cruel injury toll, they started this year with high hopes.
That excitement has vanished. The wheels have fallen off, or perhaps more accurately the legs have slowed.
Od legs and tired minds mean the Cowboys have won just three of their 10 games so far this season.
With an ageing roster, the team looks sluggish and that's why Ikin believes an injection of youth could be the thing to save their season.
"I'm starting to believe that they've aged five years in one off-season and it is time now for Paul Green to wield the axe," Ikin said on NRL360.
"More than anything I feel they need an injection of speed and a little bit of energy and enthusiasm.
"I'm wondering who goes."
While Gideon Gela-Mosby and Javid Bown have tasted first grade, the pair have failed to see any consistent time in the top grade.
Their names will come back into contention, as will gun centre Enari Tuala - a standout performer in the Queensland Cup.
"It's almost like things need to change now for change's sake," Ikin said.
Add in recently re-signed half Jake Clifford and the Cowboys have youngsters chomping at the bit for a chance in first grade.
No position should be safe. With the team looking tired, some fresh and energetic faces might be the only fix for Green this year.
"Maybe the relationships between the players, it might be an emotional slowness, like a tiredness," Ikin continued as he looked for a reason behind the slow start.
"It's still that hangover from last year, but whatever is going on at the Cowboys it's safe to say that whatever they're doing on the field is happening three and five per cent slower than it was at the back end of last year."
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