Thurston backs Cowboys to reach finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston backs Cowboys to reach finals

By Ben Galvin 15/08/2009 02:52:49 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland captain Johnathan Thurston believes his side are capable of winning their final three matches of the NRL season and charge into the finals despite the Cowboys' 22-12 loss to the Bulldogs on Friday.

The Cowboys rode into the match high on confidence with the second-placed Bulldogs missing key players Luke Patten and Ben Hannant but Kevin Moore's side still managed to scrape home against the odds.

Following a stinging post-match appraisal from coach Neil Henry, in which he labelled the performance their worst of the season, Thurston still said his side can sneak into the top eight.

"There are still six points on offer and that's the way we are looking at it," Thurston said.

"We have got eight days to prepare now so we have got to look forward to Newcastle and prepare the best we can."

Henry was also critical of his side's intensity and hunger in the dying stages of the game.

"We needed to be desperate tonight and we weren't," Henry said.

"We were disappointed in our urgency to pack scrums with 10 minutes to go.

"When the game is there if we stand up and we get it right we could peg back a couple of tries."

Henry said his side would take advantage of an extended turnaround to rediscover their spark following two straight losses.

"We have got a fair bit of work to do if we are going to be competitive against the Knights in Newcastle next week," he said.

"We have got another eight days to prepare and we need to get a bit of spark back."

Henry was confident star centre Willie Tonga would take his place against Newcastle following a sickening head knock with Jamal Idris.

The Queensland star was badly concussed but with an eight-day turnaround it is expected he will be available for selection.

The Bulldogs breathed a sigh of relief after giant prop Jarrad Hickey was cleared of any serious neck and facial injuries following a head clash with Carl Webb while Michael Hodgson will be monitored during the week with a calf strain.

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