Cowboys coach Paul Green says the short five-day turnaround made it difficult for his side to reproduce last week's winning performance in a loss against the Wests Tigers in Sydney on Saturday night.
The Cowboys looked to have turned a corner after an impressive 28-2 victory against Newcastle in Townsville last Monday but managed just one try in a flat performance against the joint-venture club.
"Monday night game into a Saturday game with a flight, so [it was] very tough to get yourself physically ready," Green said.
"I thought we did a good job but our execution in good ball tonight probably let us down. We worked really hard, particularly in that second half.
"We had the ball two sets out of 10 sets there and most of those sets the Wests Tigers were on our line. We managed to defend them, worked really hard to get an opportunity down the other end of the field, and just couldn't build any pressure out of that."
It was the club's third game 12 days, but co-captain Matt Scott dismissed suggestions that the early season travel was the reason for the club's mixed start to the year.
"It's a tough couple of weeks for us but that's something we should be used to," he said.
"It's not new to us. Travel's a part of our game, based where we are. We've put things in place to recover properly and get ready for these games.
"But I think Greeny's sugar-coating a little bit for the players there, it was a poor performance from our part."
In the end the Tigers scored three tries to one, but Green rued a handful of missed opportunities to make a move on the home side, including a botched try from co-captain Johnathan Thurston midway through the second half that was set up by teammate Brent Tate.
"I don't know whether you'll ever see that again. Two Test players there and that was a bit of us tonight, particularly down that end of the field," Green said.
"It's just errors at vital times in the game. As I said, we worked really hard during that game and then an opportunity, through nothing more than hard work.
"And then when we got that opportunity, we didn't really put any pressure on them. We didn't put a good set together, we didn't take advantage of that opportunity and then just let them off the hook."