The North Queensland Cowboys have torn themselves a new one after a horror 42-4 drubbing at the hands of the Parramatta Eels in Sydney.
After an incredible performance against the Newcastle Knights this week, some punters were backing the Cowboys to pull off an upset against the ladder leading Eels.
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But four tries to Maika Sivo and a dominant displayed from the Mitchell Moses-less Eels put the Cowboys to the sword and showed no mercy as the crushed the Queenslanders.
It leaves all three Queensland teams in the bottom half of the ladder the 11th placed Cowboys the best placed of the three teams with three wins this season.
Set for a horror month with games against the Roosters, Panthers, Sea Eagles and Raiders it just gets tougher for the Cowboys with all four teams currently in the top eight.
Just weeks after coach Paul Green was under the pump following a brutal spray after a first half capitulation against the Wests Tigers, it was a bad look for the side.
In the post-match press conference, Green said it was “two steps forward, one step backwards” and the side need to narrow the gap between the side’s best and worst.
“It’s a bit of a theme for us, we can’t put two good halves together,” he said. “Not that there wasn’t plenty of improvement in the first half mind you but I didn’t think we were out of the game at halftime.
“When we got our game on in the first half, I thought we were creating some opportunities but without stating the obvious, defensively we’ve got to find a lot more consistency.”
He also blamed trust in defence for the loss, something Broncos legend Corey Parker said was of the utmost importance.
“If you don’t trust each other, if you don’t trust the guy inside you, outside you, wherever you are on the footy field, it’s not going to work,” he said on Fox League.
While the coach was looking for the silver lining in the match, Cowboys prop Josh McGuire was at his blunt best to ABC Grandstand.
“Was pretty s***house from us to be honest,” he said.
Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo said he didn’t think his side “valued the ball enough” and when asked about what Green would say about the loss he said “I’m not looking forward to it”.
The defensive effort was also clear for Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston, who ripped into the side the side he spent most of his career with.
“I think their effort in defence, what you want to see is the boys keep having effort,” Thurston said. “I think they were beaten on a lot of little efforts tonight. The Eels have got a strong pack, no doubt about that, and they just kept charging forward through the middle third and our right edge was atrocious tonight.
“They’ve got a lot of work to do the Cowboys, especially the Queensland sides. Queensland rugby league, it’s not good signs.”
While the Maroons have until the end of the season to get right for Origin, it’s an ugly time for the Queensland rugby league sides.