Cowboys Coach Paul Green speaks to the media at the North Queensland Cowboys squad media session ahead of the grand final, 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville, Queensland, Monday, September 25, 2017. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)
North Queensland coach Paul Green has warned it will take time for his exciting new front-row combination of Matt Scott and Jordan McLean to click in their first NRL season together.
Test prop Scott will officially pack down with Melbourne recruit McLean for the first time on his return from a serious knee injury in Friday night's NRL opener against Cronulla in Townsville.
All eyes will be on North Queensland co-captain Johnathan Thurston on Friday night for his 300th NRL game and a club record 271st appearance for the Cowboys.
But the combination of Scott and Kangaroos forward McLean also promises to be worth the price of admission after linking in the off-season.
McLean will look to pick up where he left off in 2017 when he had a dream season, winning a title with the Storm and featuring in Australia's Rugby League World Cup triumph.
Green was excited by his new bookends but warned fans the formidable pairing needed time to gel.
"Most take a while to hit their best at the start of the season - we will probably be no different," he said.
"As long as we are working hard in the little areas that's what I want to see."
Green even reckoned it would be easy to keep a lid on expectations for Scott and McLean.
"I don't think it is too difficult. Matt Scott is coming back from a fair layoff and Jordan is new to the team," he said.
"Apart from the excitement of going out to play the game I don't think the expectation part will come into it."
Green also did not believe players were getting too caught up in the hype over Thurston's milestone game.
Thurston (shoulder) will make an official return from injury in his landmark match, kick-starting his 17th and final NRL season.
"They are aware about what is going on, the occasion, the milestone - it's also Jordan McLean's debut for the club," Green said.
"It's a big night for a couple of reasons but they have been focused."
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