North Queensland coach Josh Hannay has challenged his side to “grow up” after their close 14-12 loss to the Raiders.
The Cowboys fell to their second loss in a row since Hannay took over from Paul Green, and their fifth consecutive loss overall.
The Cowboys continued to show improvement but couldn’t close out the game against the injury-hit Raiders at crucial moments.
When asked about his side’s performance post-match, the Cowboys great was critical of his team’s poise during pivotal passages of play that could have swung the result their way.
“I’m pretty torn tonight as a coach,” Hannay said post-match.
“We saw signs of the type of team that I want to see out there but we just keep shooting ourselves in the foot.
Raiders challenge turns match
“So one part of me is immensely proud and the other is immensely frustrated and angry.”
Even though the Cowboys are missing key players and have undergone a change in the head coaching position, Hannay refused to make excuses for his players.
He said while not having the likes of Valentine Holmes and Michael Morgan on the field is tough, sooner or later other players have to step up and change the club’s predicament.
“At some point as a footballer no matter what level of experience you are, you need to grow up and do your job in big moments particularly,” he believes.
“That’s three week’s straight I would say that our effort has been first-class but inexperience, individuals not doing their job when the game comes their way,
“I thought there was some moments out there where some of our younger players didn’t do their job.
“For the most part, they all did spectacularly well but you’ve got to do it for 80 minutes, you cant do it for 60-70 against a quality opposition like the Canberra Raiders.”
Hannay admitted he made an “error in judgement” when he replaced prop Francis Molo with John Asiata at the 70-minute mark in search of points.
Cowboys star Asiata injured
Asiata left the field minutes later with a suspected knee problem, after returning from an MCL injury that had sidelined him since round four.
“I thought Canberra were out on their feet and I went for the killer blow,” Hannay said.
“I guess it’s a good sign that he was able to go back out and I thanked him for that effort, but at this stage it’d be too early to tell the severity of what he’s done there.”