BALD OLD WAYS
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.