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20 hours ago
Former Test hardman Greg Dowling hopes out-of-sorts North Queensland enforcer Carl Webb will start "walking the walk" after the Cowboys confirmed Neil Henry as their next coach.
Dowling claims to have received an abusive phone call from Webb last weekend in response to a newspaper column the former Maroons forward wrote.
The column said Webb should show more consistency or get the axe.
Dowling said Webb's response proved the Cowboys' players were too easily distracted by off-field matters.
"He didn't take it too well because he hung up on me. And you could tell how he took it by the way he played that night," Dowling told AAP, referring to the Cowboys' 36-2 loss to Brisbane last Friday night.
The Cowboys' woeful 0-3 winless season start has been attributed to uncertainty surrounding the North Queensland coaching position.
"You can either look at yourself or blame someone else and at the moment they are blaming someone else - that call vindicated that," Dowling said.
"I got a spray from Arthur Beetson in 87, I'll never forget it - they weren't going to pick me for State of Origin.
"I didn't ring him up and abuse him, I just went out and played my guts out, and made them pick me, and everything was sweet from there.
"That's the trouble with these guys, they are being paid too much money and they are not performing."
But Dowling is not looking for a dust-up with Webb similar to the ex-Test prop's infamous sideline brawl with New Zealand's Kevin Tamati in 1985.
On the contrary, the self-confessed Webb fan hoped the Cowboys' announcement about Henry would help the North Queensland forward focus.
"You can see why he is struggling, he's distracted. The whole forward pack is, it's contagious," he said.
"They are struggling mentally. They are too worried about everything else that is going on.
"I'm a big fan of his, no question, always have been. He's the guy who can turn it around for them.
"He is a leader, one of their elder statesman. He's off contract - he should be trying everything to win.
"I read in the paper a month before that he was talking the talk but he's not walking the walk."
But Dowling was sceptical of how the Cowboys had handled the whole coaching affair.
"(Current coach) Graham Murray is a dead man walking, you can see that by the way they are playing," he said.
"The board is not behind the coach. The board is listening to the players which is why his contract has not been renewed.
"You've got the inmates running the asylum.
"But I do hope that this settles them down. I'm a passionate Queenslander and I would love nothing more than to see the Cowboys up there."
Dowling was expecting another phone call from Webb after returning serve in his column for The Cairns Post.
"If you are prepared to dish it up you've got to accept it, it's as simple as that," he said.
"I don't want it to develop into a sh*t fight but I stand by what I said.
"These guys are on three hundred, four hundred grand a year, they get everything laid on for them, to watch them go out and play like that is disheartening for a fan.
"They went within a whisker of the grand final last year with a depleted side so come on guys pull your finger out - stop looking at blaming everyone else."