Cowboys at sixes and sevens over No.9 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys at sixes and sevens over No.9

22/07/2009 08:15:05 PM Comments (0)

They may be at sixes and sevens over who should wear No.9, but the North Queensland Cowboys are very clear on what is required against Penrith at Townsville on Saturday night.

"If we are serious about being a chance of being in the top four we need to beat Penrith at home," Cowboys coach Neil Henry said on Tuesday.

Henry read the riot act to his team following their 34-14 drubbing at Leichhardt Oval last Sunday - a loss that severely dented their top four, and possibly top eight, hopes.

Another big dent was left on stand-in hooker Anthony Watts' face, ensuring Henry had to slot in a fourth-choice rake for their crucial NRL clash at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

After copping a belting in a scrum thanks to a "square up" from opposite number Robbie Farah, a battered and bruised Watts was then hit with a one-match ban for striking following an early guilty plea.

It was a big blow after regular rakes Aaron Payne (pectoral) and Clint Amos (knee) were already out for the season.

In the end, Henry opted for regular pivot Travis Burns as the new face at hooker - for now.

"We will need to be a bit creative with who ducks into the nine spot at different parts of the field," Henry said at Townsville on Tuesday.

"But he (Burns) is used to playing 80 minutes of football ... (and) we are pretty limited at this stage after losing three hookers."

Henry was more clear on what was expected from his sixth placed side (9-8 record) after the morale-sapping loss to the Wests Tigers.

"I thought some players were disappointing. We talked about that - they know who they are," Henry said.

"We need to be a bit better than that.

"Wests Tigers had their season on the line. We had a chance to take that away from them but we weren't good enough.

"And also the way the game fell it would have helped us push up the ladder and put pressure on for a top four spot."

Henry described the Penrith clash as "pivotal" to not only a top four, but a top eight finish.

"It's a home game, we need to stay in touch (with the top four)," he said.

"All the way down to ninth comes down to for and against.

"We have to maintain our superior for and against because in the run to the finals it may decide a few places in the top eight.

"So we need to defend better than last week."

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