North Queensland coach Paul Green says he won’t be panicking despite his premiership-winning outfit producing their worst attacking NRL game in over a year.
An unrecognisable Cowboys side completed just 24 sets in Saturday’s shock 20-16 loss to Parramatta, worse than their lowest total of 25 in their successful 2015 campaign.
A disappointed Green admitted his team were flat and lacked quality last-tackle options in what was their first defeat since going down to Brisbane in week one of last year’s finals series.
But he wouldn’t be overreacting.
“You don’t write any game off, but there’s no cause for concern,” he said.
“We know we can be better, there’s areas in the game where we are better than what we showed tonight.”
And that includes their ball handling, which only dropped below 70 per cent on four occasions last year.
Green was also surprised to hit double digits in both errors and penalties.
“Some of it is concentration with some simple unforced errors there tonight, which is a little bit unlike us,” he said.
“That part of our game disappoints me because that’s been one of our strengths and tonight it wasn’t there. Probably a little bit of application, a little bit of concentration.”
Captain Matt Scott said his side needed to get used to being the most targeted team in the competition.
“We’re going to experience that every game we play,” he said.
“There’s going to be a bit more pressure on us, teams are going to lift to play us and we have to handle that pressure a bit better.”
The Cowboys’ slow start might immediately bring an end to Green experimenting with starting regular No.9 Jake Granville on the bench.
Green admitted he toyed with his rotation due to the impact of the reduction in interchanges.
Asked if he would do repeat the change next week when they face they Sydney Roosters he said: “Don’t know. Just playing round with the interchange a bit there – only used up one interchange that way.”