Cowboys keen to re-establish home dominance
The North Queensland Cowboys are ready to get their home performances back on track after a weekend off, and have issued a warning to the Gold Coast Titans that they intend to restore their proud record at 1300SMILES Stadium this weekend.
The Cowboys have lost three of their first six home games this year, a run of results that front-rower Scott Bolton labelled "embarrassing" after their poor performance against the Parramatta Eels in Round 9.
The Cowboys beat the Titans 32-26 when they last met in Round 4, but the Cowboys' performances have improved in consistency since their poor defensive effort that night. The Titans haven't beaten the Cowboys in Townsville since Round 1 2012, and lock Jason Taumalolo is keen to maintain that record.
"Home is where we pride ourselves, and we've had a pretty good record here over the last couple of seasons and it's pretty disappointing having a couple of losses early this year," he said.
"What's more disappointing is we lost those games ourselves. All those teams that do travel up here they know how much of a tough game it is and a couple of games there we've let them off the hook. Hopefully we work on that and hopefully it doesn't happen for the rest of the season."
Both teams will be feeling refreshed coming off a bye for Round 12 and Bolton is feeling refreshed after making 152 metres and 38 tackles against the Sharks in Round 11.
"For myself, I've enjoyed it, just to get away from footy and freshen up and get rid of a bit of that soreness you have week-to-week," Bolton said.
"Just doing that weight session this morning after not doing much for four days it's an unbelievable feeling you don't get too many weight sessions feeling like that."
The front-rower is aware that football games don't win themselves, and coming up against an equally fresh Titans side will present its own challenges with the return of several key players – including Jarryd Hayne – who were absent in their last meeting.
"[We need to] complete well and finish our sets well. I think if we'd turned [the Sharks] around a bit there we wouldn't have had to deal with some of their individuals like we had to… We've got to complete high and get the ball up the other end of the field," Bolton said.
The Cowboys take on the Titans at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday night.