‘Honest approach’ to get to the bottom of Cowboys slump
COWBOYS coach Paul Green does not expect star duo Valentine Holmes and Jordan McLean to return from injury next week as his side look to have some tough honesty sessions after their loss to Wests Tigers.
The North Queensland mentor expects the pair to be sidelined for another week as they begin a daunting six-round run against teams firmly entrenched in the top eight and considered genuine title threats.
On the back of three straight losses they will be confronted with Newcastle, Parramatta, Sydney, Penrith, Manly and Canberra, but Green said whoever lined up on the other end of the pitch was irrelevant.
Green said there were no easy games, and if they played as they did in the first half against the Tigers - going into the sheds down 34-0 - they would suffer the same fate.
"Through the week talking about how we have a hard run coming up I said I'd like to know when we get easy games," he said.
"First half, we weren't in the contest, (but) when we knuckled down and started doing our job in the second half we were in the contest. It's no different, it doesn't matter who we play and I'm not worried about who we play.
"If we don't find that consistency, particularly when we're under pressure around our defence, it doesn't matter who we play."
One positive Green was able to take from the 36-20 loss in Campbelltown was their second half.
After leaking tries with ease in the opening 40 minutes, the Cowboys defensive resiliance returned and tries to Scott Drinkwater, Esan Marsters and a double to Kyle Feldt allowed them to control the latter stages of the game.
Green, who was seen furiously spitting venom in his halftime speech, said there was no "magical change in tactics", it was simply a case of defending with the urgency and intensity that alluded them in the opening exchanges.
Despite fielding a team lacking experience in key positions - Michael Morgan and John Asiata still in the casualty ward with Holmes and McLean - Green said there were was no rhyme or reason for what transpired in the first half.
He said he would "take the honest approach" when addressing his young team this week.
"It's no excuse for the first half but there are some young guys amongst it who are learning what it's like, what it's about to play NRL," Green said.
"We just didn't handle moments in that first half which compounded points. We need to have a bit more resilience there to make sure we don't turn that into points.
"We had a couple of early shots down there … we didn't come up with points and you have to be more resilient off the back of that.
"You're not going to score points every time you go down there, but you can't then let them roll 100 metres.
"We've got to look at the performance for what it is, there was some good stuff but some really bad stuff. We have to get to the bottom of why we're getting the bad stuff."
Originally published as 'Honest approach' to get to the bottom of Cowboys slump