The Courier-Mail

Nine-straight wins but Cowboys rue a familiar trail of errors

- CHRIS GARRY

THE Cowboys are still haunted by the ghosts of 2014, matchwinni­ng backrower Gavin Cooper says.

The Cowboys have won nine straight and are third on the NRL ladder sharing the same competitio­n points (18) as ladder-leading St George Illawarra.

However, Cooper said their game still had remnants of their poor first half of the year in 2014 when they won just two of their opening seven games.

This year the Cowboys also had an awful opening, losing three straight before striking their rich vein of form.

North Queensland have arguably the NRL’s best roster but have failed to capitalise on their potential.

The Cowboys were fortunate to beat Manly last Saturday. The Sea Eagles were the better team for large periods of the contest.

They repeatedly peppered North Queensland’s line but the Cowboys defence held solid and earned them victory.

Cooper said it was the Cowboys’ 18 errors, many of them unforced, which reminded him of their horror start to this year and last year.

“We still made it hard for ourselves. We were turning it over with plays to spare,” Cooper said.

“We must learn how to get through a set. We know we have points in us.

“We’re trying to score off every play.

“We took our foot off. You go back 12 months and that’s the stuff that was getting us in trouble.

“We were

letting teams back in because we thought it would be too easy.

“That’s not good enough if you want to beat the good teams.’’

Cooper scored the last-minute try that ultimately won the match for the Cowboys after brilliant lead-up work by Jake Granville and Lachlan Coote.

Cooper has been mentioned at the Origin selection table previously and is only one or two injuries to incumbent backrowers away from being called upon.

He possesses the consistenc­y in play that Mal Meninga loves.

Cooper couldn’t help but sledge the Cowboys’ newest Origin player, five-eighth Michael Morgan.

“He doesn’t talk to us now, he only talks to the Origin boys,” Cooper said. “I’m not sure if he believes he played the other night actually. He’s such a humble person.”

The Cowboys play Parramatta on Monday, giving them a well-deserved nine-day rest.

 ??  ?? BACK ON TRACK: Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans is expected to return from injury against the Broncos on Friday night and reclaim his spot for Origin II at the MCG on June 17.
BACK ON TRACK: Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans is expected to return from injury against the Broncos on Friday night and reclaim his spot for Origin II at the MCG on June 17.
 ??  ?? CONSISTENT: Gavin Cooper.
CONSISTENT: Gavin Cooper.

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