Johnathan Thurston’s North Queensland Cowboys are languishing near the bottom of the table after their fifth straight loss. (AAP: Michael Chambers)
North Queensland coach Paul Green admits there could be personnel changes as his side looks to avoid a sixth straight NRL defeat against Gold Coast.
The pre-season favourites sit second-bottom of the ladder with a 1-5 record after the 27-10 defeat to Canterbury on Saturday night and Green concedes they need to find a way to improve their output in the all-Queensland clash.
One unwanted adjustment could be replacing Matt Scott, who left the field in the closing stages for a head injury assessment, but Green said the test was “precautionary” and he expected to have the prop available to play.
“We need to change what’s happening on the field,” Green said.
“Whether that be personnel or not I don’t know. We need to fix it and fix it quickly.
“You don’t want to change for the sake of change. The players need confidence too.”
The Cowboys’ biggest problem has been their start to games. For the third week in succession the 2015 champions found themselves two tries down in the first half.
“We’re putting ourselves under too much scoreboard pressure at the start of games,” Green said.
“When you’re down 12-0 and get a couple of penalties it’s difficult to take two (points) at that stage.
“We’re putting ourselves in these positions by being so far behind.
“Then you tighten up a little bit and don’t take the opportunities in front of us — you think twice about your offload.
“We need to loosen up and play what’s in front of us, trust our ability and trust our team.”
Parramatta not broken despite sixth loss
Parramatta’s Tony Williams gets tackled as the Eels crashed to their sixth straight loss. (AAP: Lukas Coch)
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur is refusing to panic despite the Eels’ disastrous 0-6 start to the NRL season.
Their 18-2 defeat in Canberra on Saturday made it the first time in 27 years the club has lost the opening six games, only breaking through for their first win of 1991 in round eight.
Not since South Sydney in 2008 has an NRL team gone 0-6, and no team has ever recovered from such a position to make the finals.
Despite the grim statistics for a team that finished fourth on the ladder last year, Arthur said the Eels were simply down on confidence.
He left the door open for changes to the side when they face Manly, who smashed the Eels 54-0 in round two to start the rot, next Sunday.
“We’ll look at the game again, but we won’t make any rash decisions tonight, we’ve got no choice but to get up and go again next week,” Arthur said in his post-match press conference.
“The effort was great and we’re trying really hard but it’s not good enough to win NRL games.”
Parramatta’s defensive efforts continue to please Arthur as they made 80 more tackles than the Raiders, but he says there is no quick fix to their attacking woes.
“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot with ill-discipline with penalties.
“We’re just down on confidence and bounce of the ball is not going away and we can’t scrounge a try at the moment, which is not great for our confidence.
“They’re having a real crack and the effort’s there, but winning is a habit and unfortunately so is losing.”
The only real positive to come out of the match was fullback Clint Gutherson’s accomplished return from an ACL injury, with Arthur praising the way the 23-year-old handled himself.
Broncos end Warriors’ winning start
Jamayne Isaako got the first tries of his NRL career with a double against the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland. (AAP: David Rowland)
Brisbane winger Jamayne Isaako opened his NRL try-scoring account with a double for the Broncos, who turned their fortunes around with a 27-18 win over the Warriors in Auckland.
The former Junior Kiwi scored in both halves and also landed five goals on Saturday for a personal haul of 18 points.
The Broncos went into the match with two losses in a row but they showed plenty of running, with Joe Ofahengaue, Matt Lodge and Josh McGuire leading the charge, while half Anthony Milford was influential with the boot.
Coach Wayne Bennett believed his players had improved on a good performance in last week’s 15-10 defeat to Newcastle.
“We played pretty well in Newcastle last week — we weren’t perfect,” he said.
“We just felt, if we could build on that game, we would give ourselves a chance.”
A groin injury to Kodi Nikorima meant the stuttering halves pairing between Nikorima and Milford was broken up, with centre Jack Bird filling the vacancy.
The defeat ended the Warriors’ unbeaten start to the season and coach Stephen Kearney was disappointed with their performance.