The North Queensland Cowboys are finally back in the winner's circle after defeating a disjointed Panthers outfit 24-10 in Townsville on Friday night.
Coach Paul Green was visibly pleased with his team’s effort.
“Obviously, winning is a lot more fun than losing, but I’m really proud of the effort there tonight," said Green.
"I thought that was probably a little bit in question after last week's game and despite the fact we've got a few guys playing out of position, tonight the boys showed there was a lot of care for the team, care for each other, which is good to see."
The Cowboys curse of starting fast and dropping off in the back end of the game had been broken, Green admitting there were moments where they made it a bit harder for themselves, but were able to go on with it.
“In past games we hadn't been able to close those out but I thought we did that tonight. I'm sure the boys enjoyed it as well. It's very pleasing considering how close we'd been in different games, but tonight we got the result.”
Match: Cowboys v Panthers
Round 23 -
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville
Jason Taumalolo was a late inclusion in Friday night’s game after suffering from a foot complaint which has seen him sidelined since last week. Green praised Taumalolo for wanting to be there.
“He could just as easily have said, 'Nah, it’s too sore'. He did play through that, which is again an indication of how much it means to the players, Jase in particular.”
Opacic sends Feldt sprinting away
The victory was made even sweeter given the emotion earlier in the week when it was revealed retiring prop Matt Scott had suffered a mild stroke. Green said he managed to watch the game from his hospital bed in Brisbane.
“We got a text from Lauren, his wife. He went through some pain to watch it but he did watch it," he said.
“It's been a tough week for everyone. None more so than Matt and his family. Hopefully that'll give him a bit of a lift, I'm sure it would have.”
Green said Tom Opacic, who went off for a HIA in the second half, has been solid since returning to the side.
“He's taken his opportunities, he played with energy that we probably hadn't seen from him for a while so it was good,” he said.
The Cowboys will now prepare to host a Bulldogs outfit who have found some form at the back end of the season on Thursday night, the final home game ever to be played at 1300SMILES Stadium before they move to their new stadium in 2020.