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Cowboys halfback Ben Hampton.

Cowboys players have spoken effusively of the improvement new coach Todd Payten has provided but know it is far too early to start getting carried away with things.

The club was battered early in the year with the loss of both captains and four straight losses but righted the ship impressively over the past three rounds.

While Michael Morgan was forced into retirement with a chronic shoulder issue, his fellow co-skipper Jason Taumalolo returns this week to a side hunting a fourth consecutive win.

"Todd's been very good for us; as you saw when he took over at the Warriors last year and did a very good job with them, he came up here, brought a fresh attitude and all the boys have bought into that," hooker Reece Robson told NRL.com.

"Everyone's enjoying coming into training and building on what we're trying to do here. The more we can keep building on that the better we'll go throughout the season."

Holmes with the vision, Feldt the finish

Forward Coen Hess played under Payten in North Queensland's under-20s system and praised the way the coach had got the squad pulling together after a horror start.

"I had the luxury of having Toddy for a year of under 20s when he first came to the club," Hess told NRL.com.

"He transitioned to NRL assistant the same year I transitioned to the NRL squad so I was pretty lucky to have him for a two-year stint there.

"He contacted me just quickly to have a chat when he first got appointed as the NRL coach this year and I was really excited to work with him again.

The magic of Brisbane

"He's a straight shooter, he's up front, honest, really black and white and I think that's what we needed."

There might be a bit of extra incentive for Warriors players up against last year's interim coach when they host the Cowboys on Sunday, according to Hess.

"Obviously Toddy was there last year, they'll be up for the game from that point of view," Hess added.

"You know what you're going to get against the Warriors, they've got some big boys, you always finish games against the Warriors with a few extra bruises compared to a few other teams."

Halfback Ben Hampton stressed the importance of not letting three good weeks shift the focus away from striving for further improvement.

"Todd's making sure we don't get too far ahead of ourselves," Hampton said.

Annesley vehemently drives change to foul play

"Yeah, we've won a couple of games. I still don't, and the coaching staff still don't, think we've put an 80-minute footy game together.

"Toddy's making sure we're not falling in love with ourselves or getting too far ahead of ourselves because there's a long way to go in this season and we're still pretty close to the start."

Like Hess, Hampton said the Warriors' heavy loss to the Storm was no reason to take them lightly this week.

"The Warriors have got the best completion rate in the comp, cracking players all over the park, talent everywhere, they've got another young guy who debuted last week [Reece Walsh] who looks like he's going to be a superstar of the game and ]I'm sure they're going to be as hungry as ever to put a good performance on the field," he added.

"We can't go down there thinking about the result, we have to put into play what we've trained for and make sure we're on because they'll put everything into it to make sure they're on track."

 

NRL Magic Round Brisbane 1-Day & 3-Day Passes are now on sale with eight massive games across round 10 at Suncorp Stadium this May. With the league's best players all heading to Brisbane, you'd hate to miss it! Tickets at NRL.com/Tickets