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Cowboys NRL coach cops drowing speculation

North Queensland coach Neil Henry accepts the mounting speculation about his future in charge of the Cowboys will linger until his NRL team turn their season around.
Cowboys NRL coach cops drowing speculation
by AAP

By Liam Butterworth

TOWNSVILLE, Qld, June 9 AAP - North Queensland coach Neil Henry accepts the mounting speculation about his future in charge of the Cowboys will linger until his NRL team turn their season around.

Widely tipped to be a premiership contender before the season, the Cowboys slipped to 13th on the ladder on Saturday night after their 36-26 loss to Canterbury in Townsville, equal on points with the last-placed Wests Tigers.

With four wins now from 13 matches, it was reported last week that Henry had two games to resurrect his team's fortunes, with the Bulldogs encounter the second of those.

Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain refuted those claims, saying while everyone was under pressure to change the situation, Henry had not been given a deadline to secure his job.

The Cowboys coach said he took the CEO at his word, but said he would continue to deflect the speculation and move on to the job at hand.

"It's part of the territory," Henry said of the speculation.

"We're underperforming, we're hurting, we're disappointed but it doesn't mean we train any less hard or don't prepare or coaches don't work hard to get a result.

"We're all in it together and that speculation has happened and, like anything else, that will hang around until we turn things around regardless of what we're thinking internally.

"I can't let that be a distraction to my work and we need to get out there and work hard and strive towards stringing a few wins together which we need to do."

That might be hard after a performance in which Henry said only nine of the 17 players in his squad were playing to a level acceptable for first grade as they couldn't maintain the quality to win games.

Captain Matt Scott said while they were at times playing well enough to claim wins, they were being hurt by lapses and errors.

"We're certainly putting ourselves in position to win games of footy but we just need to find that extra five per cent to put sides away and, if we can do that, we've got the team to go on a run," he said.

"If we can get some momentum and gain some confidence, we can certainly give this competition a crack."

The Queensland State of Origin prop said it was unfair to level all of the accountability for the team's flagging fortunes at the feet of Henry.

"He's not the one out there dropping balls and kicking into legs and turning out on our tryline," he said.

"There's got to be a certain amount of accountability and that comes back to the players, to me as captain, to our halves and our hooker for getting to the end of our sets."

In a positive for the Cowboys, Henry said five-eighth Johnathan Thurston, who narrowly failed a fitness test to turn out against the Bulldogs, was expected to play on Friday against St George Illawarra.


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