There isn’t the luxury of time to cover a slow start and there are a few “curly” new rules thrown in for good measure.
But North Queensland coach Paul Green expects his men to maintain a level of composure that has impressed him as they prepare to face Gold Coast in the NRL’s re-launched season in two weeks.
The Cowboys will play the Titans somewhere in Queensland on Friday May 29, with the exact venue one of the last jig-saw pieces left to fit as the code surges towards a resumption.
The coach said just having an opponent locked in would create renewed focus, while he also admitted he had no idea how the NRL’s return to one referee and six-again rule changes would play out.
“Having a bit of certainty just allows everyone to get their head around what we’re actually doing,” he said.
“For a long time there, there were so many things that were unknown, a lot of questions unanswered.
“It generated a lot of uncertainty, which people generally don’t deal with too well.
“I think our group has handled it well and once we’ve had that certainty around the draw it’s made things easier.”
Pressed on his opinion of this week’s divisive move to one referee, Green said it felt like another layer of unnecessary doubt.
“In a time of unbelievable uncertainty we were thrown a couple of more curly ones,” he said.
“But there’s no point wasting energy, just get on with it.
“And until we play under those conditions it’s hard to say (what will change).”
He said in a shortened season they would have no room for slow starts, particularly after losing their home-ground opener to Brisbane as part of a 1-1 start before the competition was paused.
“You’ve got a little longer to find your groove as a team, you can play around a bit with combinations and players,” he said of the regular season.
“In a shorter season you don’t have that luxury.”
Complicating matters will be the absence of captain and playmaker Michael Morgan (shoulder) for what Green said could be the first month of competition.
It’s expected Jake Clifford will instead partner Scott Drinkwater in the halves.