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Cowboys skipper Michael Morgan.

Cowboys Coach Paul Green was blunt in his assessment of what his playing group needs to do after being mauled by the Cronulla Sharks 42-16 in Townsville on a steamy Saturday.

"Think about what your next job is and get on with it."

The next assignment is a third game at home at 1300Smiles Stadium in the four opening rounds, against the Raiders. But first Green's side must strike a little of the belief Ricky Stuart's Canberra side is currently showing.

Green said he put the team's efforts in the first half against the Sharks down to a lack of resilience and confidence even though they led 10-6.

"We just needed a little bit more resilience particularly at the start of that half. At halftime we were feeling pretty good, we were defending well. Our attack got going as the half went on," he said.

"Our last play option to start the half wasn't great but then to let that turn into a try at the other end, that's what affected us most mentally - our ability to defend our errors and we just lost confidence in that second half in particular.

Match Highlights: Cowboys v Sharks

"I think if you're dwelling on the error, you're not thinking about what you need to do in defence and that's how you can turn a mistake into a try."

The absence of inspirational forward leader Jason Taumalolo is an ongoing issue but Green said even if the Tongan international was playing it wouldn't magically make the Cowboys' problems disappear.

"We've got a fair few new combinations, so it's important we try and get some confidence amongst the team," he said.

Across the board, Green called for everybody to show more urgency.

Cowboys prop Matt Scott.
Cowboys prop Matt Scott. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"We need to get down to some hard work and be prepared to play for 80 minutes and show a little bit more resilience when something goes against us," Green said.

Captain Michael Morgan went a step further by saying the team's performance was "embarrassing".

Moving forward, Morgan expects the club to bounce back from the 26-point drubbing.

"We have been in the position before as a club, and as a group. Some guys have been through something like this and some haven't," Morgan said.

"We're the ones who'll get ourselves out of it. It’s about working hard and that'll start Monday morning at training."