Paul Green expects the Cowboys' slow start to 2019 will cost some of his biggest stars Origin jerseys when this year's representative period rolls around.
North Queensland slumped to their fifth loss from seven games in a disappointing 24-12 loss to Canterbury on Friday night, with 10 second-half errors cruelling any chance of Green's men building momentum two months into the season.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters will pick his side for Origin I in a month's time and on current form only Michael Morgan and Josh McGuire are certainties to feature.
South of the border Brad Fittler is an unabashed fan of uncapped prop Jordan McLean, but underwhelming returns put Maroons incumbents Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper at serious risk of missing out come the series opener.
Matt Scott is another whose hopes of an Origin recall are likely to be hampered unless the Cowboys can turn their form around quickly,.
Just this week Walters threw down the gauntlet for the veteran front-rower to reclaim his Queensland spot, but Green was far more circumspect when questions shifted to the Origin arena.
"It's a hard question to answer if you're not talking about specifics there," Green said, having first queried the suggestion his side would be without their biggest names during the rep period.
"I'm just saying that generally our team hasn't been in great form.
Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Cowboys
"I would say that to pick a rep side you want to pick from teams that are full of confidence and playing well.
"We've had up to seven Origin reps at different times. I'm not sure we'll have that level of representation this year."
Underscoring the Cowboys woes, Friday's venture back to ANZ Stadium was their first since the 2017 grand final when they went down to Melbourne.
In short, not a hell of a lot's gone right in the 18 months since.
Coming off a gritty win over the Warriors last week, Green lamented the "missed opportunity" that went down the gurgler to a Bulldogs side that hadn't won in a month.
"Disappointed is (how I feel), after such a great win last week and given everything that has gone on, this was a good chance to get back-to-back wins," he said.
"The older, more experienced guys are playing OK, (but) we need them to bring the team together when we are under pressure. That did not happen, particularly in the second half there."
Morgan places a kick for O'Neill
Green was at least hopeful of having million dollar man Jason Taumalolo back on deck next Friday against the Titans, but stopped short of declaring him a "definite starter".
"He's doing a lot of what he's required to do," Green said.
"There's still a couple of boxes he needs to tick before he's right to play. Whether or not that's next week or not, not sure but [he] shouldn't be too far away."