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with North Queens­land Cowboys player THE NRL is in­tro­duc­ing some rule changes next year around in­ter­change and a kick­ing shot clock to make a more freeflow­ing game.

For us at the Cowboys, I don’t think the re­duc­tion in in­ter­changes from 10 to eight will af­fect us too much.

Our team could prob­a­bly get through now with eight in­ter­changes, but no doubt it’s go­ing to make next pre- sea­son a bit harder to get us all that lit­tle bit fit­ter.

It will af­fect the big­ger boys more than any­one, but our for­wards like Jimmy Tamou, Jason Tau­malolo and Matt Scott all can play 30- minute stints if they have to any­way.

They’re all pretty fit blokes con­sid­er­ing how big they are and once the match fit­ness from play­ing longer min­utes kicks in next year, they’ll be right to do it ev­ery week.

We’re also lucky that our High Per­for­mance Unit of Paul Bow­man, An­drew Croll, Mark Henry and An­thony Wood are all re­ally good at what they do, so they will have us all feel­ing very fit.

They make the train­ing very po­si­tion spe­cific, it’s not ev­ery­one do­ing the same thing, and all the play­ers have a lot of re­spect for them.

The new in­ter­change rules could make the game open up at the end through fa­tigue but I think all teams will be the same, they’ll get fit­ter and get used to the way the game is played.

Hope­fully it cre­ates a few more scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, but I think teams will adapt to it and we prob­a­bly won’t see too much dif­fer­ence.

That’s all go­ing ahead next year, so it’s more im­por­tant for us right now to look for­ward to Mon­day night’s game against the Eels.

We are all pretty keen to get off to a good start this time and not let them build their mo­men­tum be­cause they are tough to stop when they get on a roll, as we found out down in Par­ra­matta in round 13.

This time of the year we want to be able to start games well and then play con­sis­tently through the 80 min­utes, not let them score 30 points in 45 min­utes like last time.

It’s get­ting to that point of the year where teams are go­ing to be too good to run down all the time.

It will be good to be back at home for the first time in a month and I ap­pre­ci­ate that it’s tough for a lot of peo­ple on a Mon­day night but I know all the boys re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate hav­ing a good crowd.

We have the fourth high­est av­er­age crowd in the league this sea­son and num­bers are re­ally up on last year so it’s been a re­ally good year and it would be good to keep that go­ing for the last four games and make it mem­o­rable.

Pic­ture: MARK KOLBE

TOP FORM: Michael Mor­gan cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing a try against Manly.

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