Cowboys target fast start in Granville's milestone game

North Queensland will focus on fixing their slow starts and giving club legend Jake Granville a 200th NRL game for the Cowboys to remember against the Gold Coast Titans.

The Cowboys fell behind by 12 points and 14 points respectively in their wins over Newcastle and St George Illawarra but were unable to overhaul a 14-point deficit against Brisbane last round in a 38-12 loss.

Coach Todd Payten said he’d put in place training techniques to address their sluggish starts ahead of the home clash with the winless Titans on Sunday. 

“We focused on the start of our games in a bit of a grind with 13 v 13 for a 10-minute period to try and find a rhythm,” Payten said.

“Part of it is around concentration and mindset, and executing under fatigue. We need to complete the first five sets ...  and try and make it an arm wrestle for as long as we can.”

Granville, 35, starred in the 2015 grand final win at hooker in his first season with the club after playing 10 games at Brisbane the previous two years. The versatile utility  is a Cowboys life member and a player Payten wants his team to do proud in his milestone 200th game as a Cowboy.

"Jake has been the soul of this club for as long as I can remember. In his (early years) here he was an integral part of the 13 every week," Payten said.

" He set up two tries in the grand final in 2015. He is at the twilight of his career and understands how important he is to the club. He has been a joy to coach and is willing to play any position for the team to get the job done. 

"I am so excited the boys get the chance to go out and play well for him.”

Payten said the Cowboys had not performed anywhere near their best in the opening four rounds, despite winning three of those matches. 

“We are not the finished product,” he said.

The Titans have chosen two new wingers from the side that lost 30-14 to the Dolphins last week with Harley Smith-Shields and Jojo Fifita included. 

Payten said his experienced wingers Murray Taulagi and Kyle Feldt would be eyeing opportunities as a result on the flanks, if his players could provide them opportunities.

The coach said complacency would not be an issue for his men against the last-placed Titans.

“(The Titans) have started games well and teams have had to fight hard to get a victory over them,” he said.

Titans star back-rower David Fifita will play his second game back from a pectoral tear and Payten said the Cowboys had plans to counter his powerhouse runs on the edge.

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