North Queensland miss State of Origin star for vital clash.
Pressure on under fire North Queensland Cowboys coach Neil Henry has been taken to a new level on the back of his side’s 36-26 loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs.
The Cowboys looked the better side for the much of the game in Townsville on Saturday night and took a 20-12 lead with 30 minutes remaining.
But the Bulldogs racked up the next 24 points to storm into the top eight in what is the Cowboys’ fifth loss in a row.
The four-try burst added further misery to the flailing Cowboys, who were missing star five-eighth Johnathan Thurston with a groin injury carried over from Wednesday night’s State of Origin match.
Halfback Robert Lui picked up the playmaking duties for the Cowboys and played his best since returning from a year-long suspension to have a role in all four of his team’s tries, including a consolation four-pointer of his own in the dying minutes.
Thurston’s absence was one of four changes made to the team, with hooker Rory Kostjasyn and winger Ashley Graham also ruled out to injury on game day.
The Bulldogs had three of their own pull out, with Josh Morris and Josh Reynolds coming into the team along with Tony Williams.
Canterbury will have a sterner test next weekend when they travel to take on Manly at Brooke Vale Oval, while the Cowboys will tackle St George Illawarra at WIN Stadium.