N Qld on brink of return to bad old days - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

N Qld on brink of return to bad old days

By Liam FitzGibbon 08/06/2008 01:11:46 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland are on the verge of a return to the bad old days with another loss moving them to the brink of their biggest NRL form slump in almost a decade.

A depleted Cowboys side, missing a host of key stars through injury, suspension and State of Origin duty, proved little match for the Wests Tigers on Saturday night, losing 40-16 at Campbelltown Stadium.

It was the club's sixth straight loss, which worryingly left them only two competition points ahead of last-placed South Sydney.

A loss to Newcastle at home on Monday week would see the club equal its worst losing streak since 1999.

The Cowboys also lost seven on the trot in 1995 and 1996 in the dark late 90s period where they managed two wooden spoons, two 16ths and a 17th-place finish in its first five years in the competition.

A repeat of that would be a disappointing setback for a club which has reformed itself into consistent premiership contenders in recent years, making three of the last four finals series and the grand final in 2005.

"Obviously it is (disappointing), but what do you do?" acting Cowboys captain Aaron Payne said.

"Do you just throw it all in? We've still got half the season to go.

"We're trying hard, I don't think there's anyone that's not trying, it's just about being smarter."

The slump has presented interim coach Ian Millward with the most difficult of short-term tasks since replacing Graham Murray as he essentially warms the coaching seat for incoming Neil Henry next season.

But Millward believed he still had time to turn things around.

"We've just got to build some foundations and we've got to become a bit more consistent in some things we do," Millward said.

"I think it's probably important we've got to make everyone accountable too, coaches and players."

"I could get some clips (of Saturday night's game) with some good stuff we did and I could get some of some really poor stuff, so we've got to try and balance the ledger a lot better."

The Cowboys will welcome back halfback Johnathan Thurston next week from Origin duty, but are likely to be without Travis Burns, who was placed on report for two separate dangerous tackles against the Tigers.

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