Cowboy dropped for being late to training
North Queensland's turbulent pre-season has hit another hurdle after star signing Nene Macdonald was dropped for being late to training.
Macdonald was a late scratching from their 14-6 trial win against Melbourne in Mackay on Saturday night and is no certainty to feature in the opening round of the NRL.
Coach Paul Green opted to discipline the Queensland Origin hopeful after he arrived late for training last week.
Green's decision meant Macdonald did not get to play a pre-season trial game for his new club ahead of North Queensland's NRL season-opener against his former club St George Illawarra on Saturday week.
While Macdonald is favoured to start on the wing for the Cowboys in Round 1, he was replaced on the wing by Javid Bowen for the Storm trial.
The Cowboys have had a rollercoaster summer following the retirement of legendary halfback Johnathan Thurston.
Big-name signing Ben Barba was sacked before pulling on a Cowboys jersey following an alleged domestic violence incident and prop Scott Bolton last week received a five-match ban after pleading guilty to common assault.
Green said he was impressed with the gritty win over the Storm following North Queensland's off-field distractions.
"It's been a tough month for us given everything that's happened on and off the field more so," he said.
"We got out of it what we wanted to. I was focusing on our defensive effort and it wasn't a bad game from that point of view.
"It's still a big step up to the NRL once the proper competition kicks off. While we were happy we've still got a lot of work to do.
"I was proud of their effort. Hopefully we can refresh and get ourselves ready for round one."
While Michael Morgan has secured Thurston's No. 7 jersey, Green has been reluctant to declare who will start at five-eighth.
Te Maire Martin appears to have the edge on young gun Jake Clifford, mostly due to his stronger defence.
"It's a bit of a battle," Green said.
"They are pretty neck and neck. They both had some good touches."
Green said he expected Broncos recruit Jordan Kahu to improve at fullback given he only arrived at the club a fortnight ago to replace Barba.