Josh McGuire was in the thick of it for the Cowboys. Image: AAP Image/David Rowland
Josh McGuire was in the thick of it for the Cowboys. Image: AAP Image/David Rowland

Green’s focus forward after Cowboys win

NORTH Queensland coach Paul Green has warned the Cowboys cannot sit back and relax after they snapped a four-game losing streak with a tough win over the Warriors at the weekend.

With games against two of the NRL's bottom-placed clubs - the Bulldogs and the Titans - to come in the next fortnight, the relieved coach said now was the time to work harder.

The Cowboys, led by a barnstorming performance from milestone man Josh McGuire, dug deep in a physical clash against the Warriors to come out 17-10 victors.

McGuire led the side with more than 200m from his 23 carries and backed up with 39 tackles in a bruising effort at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.

But Green admitted the Cowboys still have areas they need to improve on with only a short turnaround ahead of Friday night's clash against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

"We have to build on this, there is no doubt we have to," Green said after landing back in Townsville on Sunday.

"We can't relax and think we are there. We have got a lot of areas we can still improve in. We need to hang on to the good stuff, defence and effort, kicking game but we need to build on that.

"There is plenty of improvement left in us as a team, but while we have that attitude there and that effort there is plenty to build on."

Michael Morgan produced some key plays. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Michael Morgan produced some key plays. Picture: Alix Sweeney

The Cowboys will have a lighter workload on the training paddock this week as the coach puts his focus into recovery after Saturday night's victory.

The win, which was orchestrated by the boot of captain Michael Morgan, with 470 kicking metres and a crucial 40/20, was the side's first since their tough effort against the Dragons in Round 1.

It also proved the side's resiliency after they were forced to come from behind two times in the clash before Morgan sealed the win with a wobbly field goal in the closing stages.

"It's a step in the right direction, I think (confidence) is what we have been lacking most," Green said.

"A win like that, whilst the first win we got off the back of what we have been doing was not going to be our best performance, it was really tough and I thought in the tough parts of the game we were really good.

"That is how you build that resiliency, going through games like that and winning like that. We really had to grind it out. They are a big physical side and it takes a bit out of you to go set for set with them and we did it well so there is plenty to take out of that."

McGuire was one of the major drivers behind the Cowboys ability to go with the sizeable Warriors pack, with the backrower putting in a man-of-the-match performance in his 200th NRL game.

McGuire was the star in his 200th first grade match. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images.
McGuire was the star in his 200th first grade match. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images.

The rest of the Cowboys pack stepped up with McGuire, with Jordan McLean (167m), Gavin Cooper (114m) and John Asiata (102m) all making beyond 100 metres with the football.

Young half Jake Clifford also showed flashes of brilliance in attack when he stepped past three would-be tacklers to send Coen Hess over for the side's first try, but struggled to contain a rampant Roger Tuivasa-Sheck throughout the match.

"There was plenty to like about the performance, and plenty to build upon," Green said.

News Corp Australia


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