The North Queensland Cowboys are eager to use their upcoming bye to iron out the wrinkles left in their game and allow players to recover from niggling injuries sustained in the first 11 rounds of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
After losing to the Cronulla Sharks in a second half comeback on Thursday night, the Cowboys missed their opportunity to jump into the top four, but found key areas that needed to be worked on.
In particular, the Cowboys' fifth tackle options were poor in the second half and on three occasions they were caught with the ball on halfway, or kicked it out on the full, gifting the Sharks field position and points. Coach Paul Green is glad for the upcoming bye.
"For us I think the bye is going to be a good thing, we've got guys who've been battling some injuries and I think we've got a good break now between our next game, longer than two weeks, so we'll use that time to actually recover," Green said.
"I think everyone will be a lot fresher and 100 per cent fit coming out of it."
The Cowboys also need to use the time to develop their fifth tackle options, and work on maintaining their composure during critical points in the game.
"Just a little period in the second half, again around our last plays, we played a little bit of dumb footy," Green said.
"We defended well, we competed well, we were in the contest… we had enough of a chance to win it but just went through that period there where we gifted them field position and they capitalised on it."
The bye is slightly less satisfying for the players, according to workhorse Shaun Fensom, as they are left to stew on a missed opportunity.
"After that performance, it's pretty gut wrenching, you just want to get back out there and rip back in this week and get a win, but we've got a bye this week. It should be good to rest up… and then come back the following week," Fensom said.
The Cowboys won't play again until Round 13 when they will face the Gold Coast Titans at 1300SMILES Stadium, and will likely do so with their State of Origin stars backing up from Game One in Brisbane.