If you think a loss doesn’t hit players hard, you should think again.
The North Queensland Cowboys could have moved to the edge of the top eight with a win over the Sydney Roosters in Townsville but a 34-18 loss has hit the side hard.
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Speedsters Javid Bowen and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow got the Cowboys off to the perfect start, while the Roosters did what they always do and ground their way into the game.
The Roosters took a 14-12 lead at halftime, before extending to 18-12 by the 58th minute before the Cowboys hit back through Reece Robson in the 61st minute.
But three Roosters tries in the final 11 minutes — and a disallowed Cowboys try in the 64th minute after Scott Drinkwater performed a clear double movement — meant that it was a demoralising loss for the Cowboys.
Now two points out of the top eight with the eighth placed Sharks playing the Canberra Raiders in the following game, the Cowboys could be two wins out of finals placings by the end of the round.
Five straight losses has hit the Cowboys hard.Source:Getty Images
With just six wins from 17 games this season, the latest loss appeared to hit harder than most.
Since a bye in round 13, the Cowboys have gone winless in five games.
It’s unclear what the issue was or if something else had happened during the week but bench forward Tom Gilbert was inconsolable in the sheds.
Cooper Cronk said “we see some emotion in the shed from the Cowboys players after a tough loss”.
Evonne Sampson added that the players were “shattered” in the sheds.
“It’s hard to know the backstories of some of these guys before they go into games,” Cronk replied.
“But they put their bodies on the line, work their backsides off and not getting the results at the moment.”
Drinkwater’s disallowed try hurt most as it almost certainly would have seen the score locked up at 24-all.
Instead, the Roosters went straight up the other end to seal the match.
“It happened so fast, I didn’t realise my arm hit the ground,” Drinkwater said post-match. “I was able to keep moving forward, keep scrambling forward. It was spur of the moment, looking back in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have done it but I didn’t realise my arm hit the ground.
“Week in, week out, one bad decision is snowballing into three or four and next thing you know we’re standing behind our tryline after two tries very quickly.”
Scott Drinkwater wasn’t happy while speaking to Fox.Source:FOX SPORTS
In his press conference, Cowboys coach Todd Payten was clearly disappointed by the result.
“I can’t fault our effort. We are just putting our effort in at the wrong parts of the game,” the coach said.
“We let them out of their end. Whether it was ruck infringements or penalties and that’s going to hurt you at the back end of games.
“(The (Roosters) just played really patient and stuck to their plan and that paid dividends.”
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