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Cowboys can still lasso season: Henry

02/05/2010 01:39:16 PM Comments (0)

Injuries have decimated North Queensland but Cowboys coach Neil Henry said the club was not prepared to give up on its season as it once again prepares to adapt to life without Johnathan Thurston.

The inspirational skipper has a grade two AC joint injury in his right shoulder and will miss the next two to four weeks of football - including Friday's Test against New Zealand.

His injury early in Saturday night's match against Melbourne only added to the battle the Cowboys face without frontline players Matt Bowen, Luke O'Donnell, Carl Webb, Steve Southern and Aaron Payne, while Ray Thompson and Steve Rapira are also nursing shoulder complaints.

"We're pretty bit banged up at the moment and you tend to feel it a bit more when you're not winning," Henry said.

"We certainly can't take a trick given who we've still got out with Luke O'Donnell and Aaron Payne and Matty Bowen yet to play, it's taking its toll a little bit and confidence is down.

"I think we showed some real effort at times, I couldn't fault the effort, the execution was down a little bit but we were trying."

The club will be boosted for its round nine clash against the Roosters though, with O'Donnell, Webb, Southern and Payne to be available while Bowen remains an outside chance.

Henry said the remaining troops had fought gamely without the injured stars and said there was still time to steady the ship on a rapidly fading Cowboys season.

"You can't fault our group's effort, I haven't been able to fault it," he said.

"The first half against the Knights we were very disappointing but we talked about that and we turned it around in the second half.

"Aside from that I think we're trying hard and at the moment there's no other side that's got those important players out.

"(Thurston) is a hugely influential player in our team, Aaron Payne is too and Luke O'Donnell's workrate around the middle too.

"Matty Bowen, well we know what he can do and we haven't sighted him either.

"It's difficult for us and it's certainly eroded our confidence but we'll keep working hard and it will turn.

"There's games out there to win and we're certainly not putting our cue in the rack."

Willie Mason put in another blue chip performance for his new club and will almost certainly be rewarded with a Country jersey on Sunday afternoon.

Mason said the players were all ready to rally in the absence of Thurston.

"It's not the best start we thought we could get off to but there's no point feeling sorry for ourselves and getting down," he said.

"It's not going to win you games.

"Obviously everyone is down on a little bit of confidence, we're not playing together as a team and we just lost our key player.

"We really have to stick together.

"It's black and white, he's not playing and we take the field without him.

"We can't sit there and cry about it thinking our year is over - we need to win games."

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