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Ailing Cowboys told to still give 100%

By Wayne Heming 22/07/2008 04:42:19 PM Comments (0)

Cowboys chief executive Peter Parr has warned players dogging it during the club's remaining seven games of a horrendous NRL season will be "weeded out" and dealt with.

North Queensland faces a long two months before closing the door on a season devastated by a horrific injury toll which claimed representative stars Johnathan Thurston (knee), Matt Bowen (knee) and Jacob Lillyman (shoulder).

Forward Luke O'Donnell is also missing due to a seven-match suspension that will sideline him until round 21.

The spate of injuries has contributed significantly to a club-record losing streak which could blow out to 12 against a desperate Eels at Parramatta Stadium this weekend.

Sitting four points behind the second-last placed Bulldogs, the Cowboys have little motivation to negotiate the rest of the season other than avoiding their first wooden spoon since 2000.

But Parr said every player would be expected to give 100 per cent in every game until the final minute of the round 26 clash with the Sharks.

"I expect the players to keep turning up and giving their all," he told AAP.

"I don't expect anything less.

"I expect them to prepare as best they possibly can, to play as well as they possibly can and to be as determined as they possibly can.

"If anybody is thinking otherwise we will weed them straight out."

Parr said the club didn't want to hide behind its heavy injury toll and needed to work on improving its depth.

"We don't want to keep hiding behind injuries, there are reasons other than injuries and one of them is we need to improve our depth," he said.

"We never envisage this (injuries).

"We were concerned we'd struggle if we ran into some injuries having not been 100 per cent happy with our depth the last couple of years.

"We got away with it last year but we haven't been able to do so this year."

Whichever way you look at it, injuries have cruelled the Cowboys' season.

"There's no doubt we've had an horrific run with injuries, everyone knows that," said Parr.

"To lose the calibre of Bowen and Thurston and Lillyman and O'Donnell and Matt Scott and even Carl (Webb) for an extended period of time and now Ash Graham and Justin Smith ... the list just goes on.

"Don't forget we've played a lot of games this season without two players (Thurston and Bowen) who were in the top four of the Dally Ms last year."

Parr said the Titans were quickly discovering how tough life can get after striking similar injury woes.

"The Titans have won just three of their last 10 since injuries hit them," he said.

"We had seven of our starting 13 players out against the Broncos last week and it will be eight against Parramatta this weekend with Graham gone.

"I'm not being critical of the Gold Coast, they've had a great year, I'm just using them as an example."

"You can usually be competitive with three or four out but when you lose seven or eight, it's almost impossible to compete."

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