Coote on outer as Green looks ahead
Lachlan Coote of the Cowboys (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
North Queensland coach Paul Green's regeneration efforts in the post-Johnathan Thurston era look set to claim another victim in premiership player Lachlan Coote.
It comes after the out-of-favour Cowboys fullback asked for clarity around his NRL future on Tuesday, with the father of two off contract at season's end.
Coote, 28, played in the side's 2015 premiership one year after joining the club from Penrith but has this season found himself in and out of the side.
With 22-year-old Te Maire Martin impressing in the No.1, Coote has been relegated to Queensland Cup and is seemingly out of Green's long-term plans.
"We've got to look at how we can regenerate the roster and that's probably where we're at with regards to Cootey," Green said.
"(Martin is) still learning the role, but for us to regenerate we've got to look at some younger guys.
"Whether or not Cootey can contribute I'm not sure, but Te Maire is doing a good job there at the moment."
Thurston will join centre Antonio Winterstein in retirement, while Kane Linnett has also been left out of Green's post-2018 blueprint.
Coote would like to remain in Townsville with his young family, but conceded that didn't look likely.
"I still haven't heard from the club at all," Coote, who is tossing up a move to the English Super League, told Fox Sports.
"It would be awesome to know sooner rather than later with the family I've got now."
Green has retained 20-year-old half Jake Clifford for Saturday's clash with Cronulla, resisting the temptation to shift utility Ben Hampton off the bench in another nod to the future.
Clifford looked more at home towards the end of his fourth NRL game last Thursday, even ordering Thurston around the park as the halves pairing plotted a successful comeback against Brisbane.
"A couple of times he told me to get out the way; he was calling the play and we're encouraging him to do that," Thurston said of his understudy.
"He's got a big future here at the club and we certainly need him to stand up and do more of what he did."
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