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Green considering all options in search for Barba replacement

North Queensland coach Paul Green will explore every option in a bid to find a replacement for sacked fullback Ben Barba.

A once in a lifetime weather event wasn't the only major event to hit North Queensland in recent weeks. The sacking of Barba also dominated headlines.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, Green spoke frankly about Barba.

"It was really disappointing - disappointing for the club and disappointing for Ben," Green said.

As well as examining the player market in search of a new No.1, Green will also consider promoting somebody from his existing squad.

"We're just having a look at all the options at the moment so we've just got to make sure that whichever way we go it's the right thing for us," he said.

"It's not an easy position to play. There's quite a bit going on for the guys back there, particularly in defence these days.

"Fullbacks are no longer the guys sitting back waiting for the opposition kick them the ball and they've got a huge role to play defensively.

How the floods affected the Cowboys' pre-season

"I think if we did go internally, particularly with a guy who hasn't played a lot of fullback, it would be a case of giving him some time there, whoever that may be, they're going to make some mistakes if they’re not familiar with that role, so you've got to be prepared to wear that."

As for possible contenders for the No.1 jersey, the Cowboys have some worthy candidates in Ben Hampton, Te Maire Martin and Carlin Anderson.

To make matters worse, the terrible flooding in Townsville has made regular training difficult and hampered Green's plans heading into the 2019 Telstra Premiership.

"We haven't trained for two weeks properly, so in terms of team stuff and guys going back there that may or may not have played there, we haven't been able to do the sort of work that we've needed to make a good read on whether they’d get a handle on it," he said.

"The timing's been really challenging, but there's a couple of guys that have played there before and there's also some guys that have the skills to be able to do a good job there."

Michael Morgan has played in the fullback position previously, but has made it clear he prefers to play in the halves.

Green won't be rushing to any hasty conclusions.

"The decision we come to has got to be what's best for the team - my preference is to not rule out anything," he said.

In the wake of Barba's axing, Green conceded the Cowboys' game plan will need tweaking.

Cowboys utility back Te Maire Martin.
Cowboys utility back Te Maire Martin. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"We'll need to change a few things up," he said.

"We need to work out who's going to be back there because it's a pretty key position."

As Townsville continues to clean up after the devastating floods, the Cowboys are keen to catch up on some pre-season training.

"We pretty much lost two weeks out of our pre-season. A couple of weeks we didn't have a session that wasn’t rain effected," Green said.

"In that second week we just couldn’t find a field that people would let us train on. Full credit to the boys, they handled it really well considering everything that was going on around the city."

Thousands of residents were inundated with water in their homes during the recent floods.

Cowboys players were also displaced but the club continues to assist them in their recovery.

"Some guys still haven't found anything permanent (accommodation) but they're all sorted for now and working through trying to find somewhere a bit more permanent," Green said.

The Cowboys meet the Titans in a trial at Sunshine Coast Stadium on February 23 before taking on Melbourne in a trial at Mackay on March 2.




Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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