AFTER starting the season as a key premiership hope in the betting, the North Queensland Cowboys are now at the unbackable $1.08 quote at Ladbrokes to miss this year’s final series.
A heart stopping 20-14 loss on Saturday night to the Parramatta Eels has seen the Cowboys slump to 14th on the NRL ladder and balloon out to triple figures for the 2018 premiership for the first time in recent memory.
The Cowboys are $101 outsiders for the 2018 NRL title at online bookmaker Sportsbet being installed as $5.50 favourites heading into the season.
North Queensland face an uphill battle just to make the eight following a 3-10 start to the season and back-rower Gavin Cooper said the Cowboys are doing their best to turn their campaign.
“It’s not an attitude thing, it’s a mental thing now, it’s been happening for too long, all the good stuff we’ve been able to dig ourselves out of in the past we seem to have forgotten about that,” Cooper said.
“We’ve forgotten about all the good footy we’re capable of and we’re stepping back to just simple under 9s errors and stuff like that.
“It’s frustrating, it’s hard to put your finger on, but winning is a habit and so is losing, and we’ve found a way to make losing a habit lately.”
The Cowboys have been ordinary in holding their opponents back this season, and the statistics reflect their application needs to improve significantly if they are to turn their campaign around.
North Queensland are in the top five for errors and missed tackles while their offense has lacked its usual potency. The team’s back five sits at third worst in the league for both tries scored and metres gained.
Cooper described the equation as “simple” for the Cowboys going forward.
“[We’ve got to] hold the ball and build a game, it’s pretty simple,” Cooper said.
“That second half on the weekend if we had held the ball we would have been in with a shot.
“I know we scored two tries in a minute and a half at the end of the game to make the scoreboard look respectable but for the most part I think it was 50%-ish completion rate on the weekend.”
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