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Cowboys brace for representative period

NZN 1/05/2016 Steve Zemek and James MacSmith

North Queensland's latest Kangaroo Michael Morgan is confident the NRL premiers can again successfully negotiate the challenging representative period.

The Cowboys' inaugural premiership last year was due in part to the way coach Paul Green kept his players fresh during the arduous representative period.

A considerable number of Cowboys stars will again be lost to representative duty this season and asked to endure the heavy schedule that it entails.

That starts with Friday's trans-Tasman Test with Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, James Tamou and Morgan all selected in the Australian side for the match against New Zealand at Newcastle's Hunter Stadium.

Gavin Cooper is the Kangaroos' 18th man.

"As a whole squad, we've got a lot of confidence in the depth we've got and the guys that are coming into the side," Morgan said.

"They know what's expected when they come into the side.

"Last year there was talk we might struggle throughout the Origin period and the boys who were there playing for the Cowboys those weeks (stood up); they were some of the best games we played as a team. Guys know their role in the team and I'm sure everyone will do their job."

Green rested Thurston at stages during his Origin commitments last year, a key to keeping the superstar playmaker fresh through the finals.

The Cowboys were expected to be hit hard during the representative period last year but instead they excelled. They lost just one game from rounds four to 21 - a 24-18 defeat to Cronulla at home in round 16 when they had all their representative players available, except for Thurston who was rested.

Morgan said he was still coming to terms with his call up to Mal Meninga's Kangaroos.

"It's something I'm looking forward to, I was pretty surprised to be honest," he said

"But I'm grateful for the opportunity.

"There was talk about it but I wasn't getting over-excited or anything. I always thought that if it was to happen, then I'd be stoked but if I didn't I wouldn't be walking around kicking stones.

"To be tossed up and to be picked, I'm very excited."

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