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Pressure to intensify on Cowboy Henry

In what shapes as North Queensland's last chance to save the job of coach Neil Henry, Canterbury players expect a "siege mentality" to make their task even tougher.
Pressure to intensify on Cowboy Henry
by AAP

By Joe Barton

SYDNEY, June 7 AAP - In what shapes as North Queensland's last chance to save the job of coach Neil Henry, Canterbury players expect a "siege mentality" to make their task even tougher.

Reports emerged prior to the Cowboys heavy loss to Gold Coast last weekend that Henry had just two games to save his job after a miserable start to the season.

That leaves Saturday night's clash with last year's minor premiers the Bulldogs as potentially his last stand.

Making matters worse for Henry and the Cowboys, co-captain Johnathan Thurston is almost no chance of taking the field due to the groin injury which hampered his performance in Wednesday's State of Origin loss to NSW.

It's a position which makes Canterbury nervous.

"Their backs are against the wall, they'll have a siege mentality," forward Dene Halatau told AAP.

"They need to get a win for themselves, for the fans and most of all for the coach."

Destructive back-rower Frank Pritchard sympathised with Henry, describing coaching as the "toughest job in the world".

But he knows how Henry's team will react to such news.

"They'll be fired up, most definitely," he said.

"To hear those kind of things ... of course the players want to play hard for their coach.

"At the end of the day it's up to the players. They've got to do the work.

"I didn't know (Henry) was on the chopping block, but if it's not him it's another coach.

"They have the toughest job in the world."

Rebounding from tough losses and wearing the brunt of media criticism are situations the Bulldogs had to face in the early rounds of this year when they won just once in the opening six games.

That rough stretch gave NSW State of Origin hopeful Aiden Tolman an insight into the motivation the Cowboys will be taking into Saturday's contest.

"We were in that position a couple of weeks ago and we knew we had to respond," he said.

"I know they'll be revved for the game.

"We've got to stand up in the middle and take the game to them because it's going to be a very physical battle.

"We're expecting them to try and turn their season around and we need to keep winning."

The Bulldogs, on the cusp of the top eight despite their slow start, are not yet out of the woods however, according to Tolman.

"Not at all. We need to keep winning," Tolman said.

"It's so tight around where we are, sitting just outside the eight."


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