Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Michael Thompson michael. thompson@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

The North Queens­land Cow­boys’ glim­mer of hope for 2011 has faded

ASH­LEY Graham drew some con­so­la­tion from his 100th game for the Cow­boys on Satur­day night with a brace of late tries.

But Graham would trade those two tries for two competition points in a heart­beat.

The re­spected club­man de­served bet­ter than to be on the end of a 34-22 de­feat at Dairy Farm­ers Sta­dium, but he did even­tu­ally play a lead­ing hand in his team’s be­lated fight­back as the min­utes ticked down.

Graham got his first try from a Johnathan Thurston cut-out pass af­ter find­ing plenty of space in the cor­ner.

His next came in the fi­nal minute when he dived over in the same cor­ner on the back of a play which had passed through the hands of Aaron Payne, Glenn Hall and Will Tupou.

With an in­fec­tion to his right eye still ev­i­dent, Graham won the team’s of­fi­cial player of the game but that didn’t ease his dis­ap­point­ment with the per­for­mance.

‘‘ It was dis­ap­point­ing es­pe­cially com­ing off last week, ob­vi­ously turn­ing the ball over put us un­der too much pres­sure,’’ Graham said.

‘‘ It’s round two so we still have time to turn things around, we def­i­nitely need to do that next week against Mel­bourne.

‘‘ We can’t re­ally worry about what other peo­ple are think­ing but we just re­ally need to get to­gether as a team and per­form a lot bet­ter than we did.’’

Just as frus­trated af­ter the game w a s C o w b o y s f i v e - e i g h t h R a y Thompson, who en­dured yet an­other pres­sure-cooker night in his ten­ure as start­ing No. 6.

But the tal­ented young­ster of­fered no ex­cuses for the loss.

‘‘ We can’t ex­pect to turn that much ball over and get a re­sult,’’ Thompson said. Talk of Ben Jones breath­ing down his neck for a crack at the fiveeighth spot didn’t overly concern Thompson, who in­stead fo­cused on his own mis­sion to re­turn to top form next week.

‘‘ I’m a bit sore at the mo­ment but I just got to look af­ter my body and go into next week with a good attitude and just re­ally work hard,’’ Thompson said.

Coach Neil Henry said Matthew Scott did not sus­tain any se­ri­ous in­jury de­spite a heavy col­li­sion which left the Aus­tralian prop limp­ing in the early stages.

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