Cowboys confident they can bounce back
The Cowboys will head into the final three rounds of the regular season sitting in the unfamiliar position of needing results to go their way if they want to finish in the Telstra Premiership top four.
Three losses on the trot – the latest a 22-10 loss to the Roosters – has them three points behind the fourth-placed Canberra Raiders after 23 rounds.
Cowboys coach Paul Green wasn't panicking about his team's late-season slide but admitted they needed to stop the rot soon.
The North Queensland mentor used the Broncos' recent form-reversal as an example, with Brisbane rebounding from an underwhelming post-Origin period with back-to-back wins.
"We're filthy about the last two games," Green said after Sunday's loss.
"You've seen the Broncos come out the other side. They had [what] you can call an 'ugly' win down there against St George, but they won, and then we saw how they played last week.
"Once it comes back, that confidence gets back in the team, and you sort of build on that."
The Cowboys opened the scoring against the Roosters on Sunday but never looked in control against a team that had only won four of its previous 20 matches.
Having been out-enthused by the Wests Tigers last weekend, Green suggested his side had again been outplayed by one that simply had more desire on the day.
"They probably wanted a little bit more than us. We were a little bit flat again," he said.
"They just beat us to the punch in a few areas. Defensively they were a bit better than us. When they carried the footy they carried it a bit stronger than us. Whether that's a desire thing or we're just a bit flat at the moment, I'm not sure.
"We're not far off, and it's important we stick together and not lose confidence in what we're doing, because we know it works. It's a matter of doing it a bit better."
Green said the short turnaround before Saturday's match against the Warriors would be another challenge his side had to overcome, and was considering upping the workload at training after employing lighter duties leading into the Roosters game.
"When you're in a bit of a form slump, there's no shortcut to get out of it," he said.
"You've got to work your way out of it, so it's a balancing act between working hard to get yourselves back to a point where you can get a bit of confidence, and also not working that hard that you've got no energy left to continue the year."
Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston wasn't overly worried with where his side was placed after 23 rounds, but conceded they needed to fix a few things if they wanted to be genuine premiership threats.
"It's just a couple of effort areas that are letting us down," Thurston said.
"Things that we're normally good at like our kick chase, things like that – the one-percenters – we're just not fighting for the scraps.
"Things like balls on the ground, we're not urgent enough to win those contests so it's [being] mentally tough and we need to be better in that area.
"We need to fight ourselves out of this hole that we've dug ourselves in and it's not one person that can do it. It's going to take all of us to get us out of it. Once we fight and scrap for that win, it gives you a bit of confidence and you can go from there."