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20 Mar 2018 16:50
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Morgan must go up a gear in NRL: coach

    North Queensland coach Paul Green wants Michael Morgan to go up a gear in their NRL clash with Cronulla despite his stellar last-round display.

    - article from

    A disrupted preparation has not stopped North Queensland coach Paul Green demanding Michael Morgan to improve on his stellar last-round display in Thursday night's NRL clash with Cronulla.

    The Cowboys were forced to fly to Sydney on Tuesday after they could not access their home ground in Townsville due to preparations for entertainers Nitro Circus.

    Locked out of 1300SMILES Stadium ahead of Nitro Circus' Saturday appearance, Green had to plan a Sydney "mini-camp" so the Cowboys could train for the showdown with the defending premiers.

    "Nitro Circus wouldn't let us train on our own ground," Green said.

    "We knew it was going to be a big game so it gives us a chance to have a mini-camp, spend some more time together and get some training done down there."

    The unusual preparation has not stopped Green demanding more from Queensland hopeful Morgan.

    Considered in the mix to replace Johnathan Thurston if the playmaker was not fit for May 31's State of Origin opener, Morgan showed he was ready to step up with a masterful display in their last-round win over Canterbury.

    Morgan scored a try and set up another four with a sublime kicking game.

    But Green wants Morgan to go up a gear against the Sharks.

    "I thought Morgo was terrific for us. He really stepped up and took control when he had to," Green said.

    "His kicking game was excellent.

    "But I am actually looking for him to go up a gear again.

    "He should get a lot of confidence out of last week. I want to see him do it again."

    Green also wanted to see North Queensland's incumbent Maroons centre Justin O'Neill press his Origin claims against the Sharks.

    O'Neill is yet to hit top form after making a nightmare return from a month-long hamstring injury in an error-riddled defensive display last month against St George Illawarra.

    "His first game back wasn't the greatest. They scored a few tries down his side but I think he has improved since then," Green said.

    "I am sure he would like another good game under his belt before they announce the side (next week)."

    The Cowboys confirmed on Tuesday hulking utility John Asiata had signed for another three seasons.

    Asiata attracted the attention of Cronulla, Newcastle, South Sydney, Manly and Gold Coast with his versatility, packing down in the front row last round against Canterbury, three weeks after impressing in the halves as Thurston's replacement.

    He opted to stay loyal to Green who first groomed the 24-year-old in 2012 as Sydney Roosters under-20s coach.

    Asiata has played 60 games since his 2014 NRL debut.


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