Morgan’s confidence looks shot
1. MICHAEL Morgan should not be an automatic selection for Origin I. Queensland coach Kevin Walters last week declared Morgan the frontrunner for the No.7 jumper but on current form the Cowboys ace does not deserve it.
In the first half, Morgan made one run for one metre, gave away a silly penalty and was caught on the last tackle. His abdominal injury has clearly affected his confidence. He was even shifted to fullback in the second half to accommodate Ben Hampton at five-eighth.
2. THE Cowboys are struggling to deal with the pre-season hype. Rated the team to beat by Storm coach Craig Bellamy, North Queensland are playing without the self-belief and energy that underpinned their surge to last year's grand final.
Some of their errors were simply schoolboy stuff. They are showing a lack of respect for the fundamentals.
3. JOHNATHAN Thurston needs to find another gear. It would be silly to write-off a champion, especially considering his return from a serious shoulder injury, but Thurston is playing below his standards of excellence. He fumbled a kick which led to Penrith's second try, missed three tackles and his general-play kicking lacked penetration.
4. THE Cowboys need more from their front-row enforcers Matt Scott and Jordan McLean. Scott made 102 metres and isn't yet at his best in his comeback from a knee reconstruction, while McLean hobbled off in the 69th minute having made just 71 metres.
5. JAMES Maloney should be the first player picked in the NSW Origin halves. Maloney comprehensively outpointed Johnathan Thurston, scoring a try and having a hand in two others in a playmaking masterclass. His control, highlighted by a 40-20 kick, was superb without injured halves partner Nathan Cleary. He drove the dagger into the Cowboys with a 77th-minute field goal.