Nene Macdonald has been spared the axe for North Queensland's NRL season opener against St George Illawarra.
North Queensland coach Paul Green says Nene Macdonald has learned his lesson, picking the prized recruit for their NRL season opener barely a week after threatening the tardy winger with the axe.
Macdonald was no guarantee of being selected for Saturday's round one clash against his former club St George Illawarra after he was dropped from their final trial against Melbourne for being late for training.
However, Macdonald did enough in a Queensland Cup clash for Northern Pride to ensure a change of heart from Green.
Macdonald got the nod from Green on Tuesday, adding much-needed firepower to a Cowboys backline missing fellow winger Kyle Feldt (groin).
"He's had his challenges but I thought he was strong (in Queensland Cup)," Green said.
"For him it is a new club, it's a new way of doing things.
"Time will tell but he is doing the right things and doing his best to tidy up that part of his game."
Green admitted he had no idea how long Feldt would be sidelined after the strike weapon suffered the injury at training last Friday.
"We are getting to the bottom of that but there is no timeframe (for a return), not at this stage," he said.
Green said there were plenty of selection headaches before naming his round one side but admitted omitting Ben Hampton from his 17 was the toughest.
There was no room for Hampton with ex-Bronco Jordan Kahu at fullback, fellow new recruit Tom Opacic in the centres and bolter Mitch Dunn snapping up the bench utility role.
"That was probably one of the toughest and hardest decisions, whether or not to go with Ben," Green said.
But Green said there was no sleep lost over naming Test lock Josh McGuire on the bench.
Green claimed the former Bronco would have an even bigger impact on Cowboys debut from the interchange.
"People get tied up over whether you start or come off the bench particularly with the forwards," he said.
"The impact and contribution he will make will be as much as if not more than the other guys."