Cowboys’ raid of resilience in Round 4
RESILIENCE and attitude.
They are the two words that have formed the basis for the Cowboys resurgence on the training paddock this week.
After a dismal defensive display against Cronulla last round, in which the side leaked 30 points in 20 minutes, coach Paul Green would have been forgiven for reaching for his axe.
But instead the Cowboys mentor stuck true, naming the same 17 for Saturday night's home clash with the Canberra Raiders.
Green said it was a chance to rebuild the confidence that his side evidently lost in that brutal period immediately after half time.
"We are pretty disappointed with our performance at the weekend, so I have given those same guys a chance to rectify it," Green said yesterday.
"I don't want to keep chopping and changing but in saying that we also need to get some confidence and consistency with how we perform and we haven't had that yet.
"(The guys) were pretty disappointed. Our attitude was in question, after last week's performance in particular, and that probably hurts more than anything.
"They deserve another chance to hopefully get it right at the weekend, but the ball is in their court now."
It was turnstile defence that allowed the Sharks to run rampant, with the visitors marching upfield in consecutive sets.
Green refused to put the blame on any individual players, instead he blamed the combined lack of effort to wrap up the ball, and stop the rot.
"I think it was just our tackling that let us down, and that was across the board, both edges and the middle," he said.
"The tries that we conceded, particularly in that second half, were not off expansive footy that pulled us apart and made us make bad decisions, it was a little bit of effort and certainly our tackling needs to be better.
"It wasn't our structure that broke down. That is why we questioned our attitude about different things. It was four tries in 15 minutes … that is just not good enough in this competition.
"We are not happy with it. It needs to get better."
The Cowboys will have that opportunity this weekend against the Raiders, and Green said he is expecting the 'Green Machine' to be well oiled and ready to motor.
The Raiders are coming off the back of a gutsy 17-10 win against the Newcastle Knights which has only boosted the side's confidence as it heads across the border.
Canberra have similarly named an unchanged 17 for the clash, but have included international forward Joe Tapine on an extended bench as he works his way back from injury.
It is understood a final decision will be made on the forward later in the week.
"They have had a couple of good wins so far, they're coming off a disappointing season themselves so they are keen to get off to a good start also," Green said.
"They will be physical, they throw the ball around a fair bit, and they have some outside backs that can be hard to handle if we let them to. So that is what we expect.
"But we really need to focus on ourselves, if we toss up what we tossed up last week it won't matter who we play."