North Queensland welcomed back four Origin players in Saturday night’s 22-0 win over the Melbourne Storm and it has also signified a return to form for the supporting cast after last week’s disappointment in Canberra.
Post-game, coach Paul Green indicated that last week’s 32-point loss was just a blip on the premiership radar and he is glad his troops could support the four Origin players backing up from Wednesday.
Green headlined the game-by-game improvement of emerging second-rower Ethan Lowe as well as Scott Bolton, who filled in at lock for the suspended Tariq Sims.
Lowe finished with a team-high 40 tackles and made a little under 100 metres, while Bolton was a powerhouse with 26 tackles and 151 metres from just 15 runs.
“Lowey has worked really hard, the pleasing things is each time he’s come up to the (top) level he’s handled it and he keeps improving each week, it’s really pleasing,” Green said of the 23-year-old.
“(Bolton) played nearly 30 minutes in his first stint so that was an enormous effort from him. And the pleasing thing was you could tell when he was just about tanked but he pushed through that and stayed on there for a little bit longer which is what we needed from guys like him tonight. It was a good effort.”
Meanwhile, Green has fired a shot at officials for a second time in as many days after Matt Scott, Lowe, Matthew Wright and Ray Thompson were all denied four-pointers by video referees Steve Clark and Reece Williams.
Green was a lot more subdued than Friday’s rant over Josh Reynolds’ downgraded Dangerous Throw charge, but he was adamant mistakes were made by the men upstairs.
“That first one, when it came up with ‘no-try’, I was just like…I don’t know what to say, it was a try. I don’t know what they see sometimes and then sometimes I think it seems like they look for a reason not to give it a try; and with Morgo’s (Michael Morgan’s) they looked at that quite a few times as well.
“I know they want to try and get it right, but gee I’d like to hear their explanation on the first one anyway.”
Co-captain Matt Scott also weighed in on his own disallowed try, expressing his discontent at what he says should have been a fourth try of the season – furthering an already record-breaking try-scoring year for the front-rower.
“Nah not happy at all (to see my try overruled). I got (the ball) down by the way,” he said.