Cowboys forget footy as cyclone Debbie approaches the North Queensland coastline

THE safety of family and loved ones is the only thing on North Queensland coach Paul Green’s mind as Cyclone Debbie bears down on Townsville.

With a home clash against the Rabbitohs looming on Friday night, game preparation is set to be thrown into disarray as the category five storm makes its way to the coast.

The cyclone is expected to hit land on Tuesday.

Speaking in Townsville after his team’s 32-36 victory over the Titans on Saturday night at Cbus Super Stadium, Green said the South Sydney game would be a minor concern until the potentially devastating storm had passed.

“Friday night is the least of our worries at this stage.

“We’ll make sure our families are all good then do whatever we have to do to get ready to play Souths.”


The Cowboys were always going to be facing a six-day turnaround following an away game, but the expected severe weather could further affect them.

During a normal week before a Friday game, the side would train early in the week, have Wednesday off and finalise its preparations with a short training run on match eve.

It is unlikely they will be able to train early this week and may be restricted to just a 60-minute session on Thursday to get ready for Souths.

“We’ve got to play it by ear a little bit and have a couple of contingency plans around training,” Green said. “We’ll wait and see how it goes. We’ve got a couple of plans in place.


“We got stuck in Sydney a couple of years ago (because of bad weather). We ended up going out for dinner and had a pretty good time.’’

Under Green, the Cowboys have become well-adapted to dealing with their demanding travel schedule.

A low-intensity week could be a blessing for the side following a tough start to the season which has included two golden-point matches.

One player looking forward to spending some time at home is co-captain Johnathan Thurston.

Thurston and wife Samantha welcomed their third daughter, Lillie Rose, during the week.

“I’ll be glad to get home and spend some time with the family over the next couple of weeks,” Thurston said.

“We’ve got a couple of home games now.

“There’ll be sleepless nights but it’s all part of it.”

The Cowboys will welcome back Jason Taumalolo from a two-match suspension against the Rabbitohs, however fullback Lachlan Coote (calf) could be looking at another week on the sideline.