The Courier-Mail

61 Winterstei­n backs attack to cover for slow starts


THE Cowboys have conceded the first try in six straight games, but winger Antonio Winterstei­n says North Queensland’s slow starts are not that big of a deal.

In those games, the Cowboys saw a total of 14 tries scored against them before registerin­g their own four pointer.

The theory goes that, in the NRL finals, you can’t afford to start slow.

The Cowboys were eliminated from last year’s finals series after an awful start against the Roosters, who racked up a 30-0 scoreline. The Cowboys drew level before losing 31-30.

That game showed the best and worst of the Cowboys and it is a trend that has continued.

Several players have their own theories on why they are so slow out of the blocks, with fullback Lachlan Coote believing it is because they are too intense and give away needless penalties early on.

Winterstei­n, however, says it is not an issue.

“I have a lot of belief in the side that we can make up for it,” Winterstei­n (pictured) said. “A lot of people say we start slow but it is what it is.”

That doesn’t mean the former Bronco believes the Cowboys are playing well, however.

“Across the board we have been down with our performanc­es. We need to take the hand brakes off and really rip in.”

The Broncos, who host the Cowboys in Saturday night’s finals blockbuste­r at Suncorp Stadium, have been a more consistent side through 80 minutes this season.

Brisbane’s only poor performanc­e came in a loss to the Manly Sea Eagles in Gosford, where they just didn’t show up.

Veteran Gavin Cooper hailed the Broncos’ goal-line defence as their biggest weapon.

“They haven’t been up the top all year for no reason,” he said. “They have won a lot of games they shouldn’t have just through their defence in the back end of games.”

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