Cowboys coach Paul Green says his team’s “spine” have to be given time to settle in to his way of coaching.

North Queensland coach Paul Green says the critics have been “kidding themselves” to think his team could be firing offensively early in the season after losing fullback Lachlan Coote to injury at the Auckland Nines.

The Cowboys put in their most polished performance of the season on Monday, snapping a three-match losing streak as they downed Newcastle 28-2 in Townsville.

Green said he was most pleased with the performance rather than the win, with replacement fullback Michael Morgan, halfback Robert Lui and hooker Ray Thompson shining for the Cowboys.

Green said he had to have faith in his spine, especially Morgan who had never played at fullback, and give them the time to settle into his system.

“We trained all pre-season up until the Nines with Lachlan Coote at fullback and to lose him then, it’s a key position in a team,” Green said.

“We moved a guy there who has never played there so if anyone expects us to be humming in attack with a guy in those sort of circumstances they were kidding themselves.

“It was always going to take time and we’re not there yet.

“We’ve still got work to do but it was a step in the right direction.”

But Green said reproducing that type of performance consistently would be a better measure for where they were as a team.

“It’s good for us and it was a step in the right direction of how we want to play and that was the main thing we’ll get out of it,” he said.

“It’s now about replicating it.”

Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott revealed an angry on-field spray by Johnathan Thurston after the one-point loss to the Gold Coast Titans last week had its desired effect on the team at training during the week.

“It’s been a lead-up of three weeks of Greeny saying it, the assistant coaches saying it and we were all saying the same things but the reaction wasn’t there,” he said.

“I think it finally hit home that we had to change what we were doing.

“We had a really good week with the footy and focusing on holding the ball and getting through our sets and we did that (against the Knights).”