Cowboys can get back on horse: Thurston - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys can get back on horse: Thurston

Liam Butterworth 13/08/2011 03:30:19 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland co-captain Johnathan Thurston says the Cowboys have shown they can be a top-four side and have earned the right to finish near the top of the NRL ladder.

The Cowboys were thoroughly outplayed by Brisbane at home in Townsville on Friday night, with a misfiring kicking game, errors and soft defending on the line again making them pay, in what was a play-off for third spot.

North Queensland now find themselves four points behind the Broncos, with St George-Illawarra and a red-hot Wests Tigers right on their tail.

But Thurston insisted the poor performance wasn't "doom and gloom" for the Cowboys.

"At times throughout the year we've showed that (we deserve to be in the top four). But tonight we were a little off and you need to be on your game when you're playing sides like the Broncos, Melbourne, St George, Manly, those teams that are up the top," he said.

"We'll go back to the drawing board, it's not all doom and gloom, we've earned the right to be up there, we just need to be better."

Thurston's problem-free return from a knee injury provided a boost to the Cowboys, who have at times struggled without the halfback's creative attacking presence.

However, the Queensland and Australian Test star admitted to being a little rusty after five weeks on the sideline.

"(My) decision making, kicking game was pretty poor, but it's on again next week so I need to be better for the team," he said.

North Queensland play South Sydney, Cronulla and the Warriors in their remaining games and coach Neil Henry says there's enough football left in the season to earn a home semi-final.

But that will come down to producing a better defensive effort.

"If we're going to be serious, and contending in the finals we need to be able to absorb that (pressure) and defend our line and then go again," Henry said.

"There's no doubt we can be a good side. We can score points and at some stages we've been resilient with our defence.

"There needs to be improvement in our team and the execution of our plays needs to be a bit better."

The Cowboys will be sweating on the fitness of hookers Aaron Payne and James Segeyaro, who have both been injured in the past week.

Segeyaro, who entered the side as a replacement for Payne (fractured eye socket in a training collision) limped from the field with an injured ankle but Cowboys staff are hopeful it's just a strain and he'll be available for Friday's clash against the Rabbitohs.

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