Cowboys Set Defensive Bar High

By STEVE MASCORD

NORTH Queensland coach Neil Henry has called upon his men to record the best defensive record in the club’s 18-year history if they want to make an impression this season.

Speaking in the wake of Saturday night’s big 40-18 win over Canberra at Dairy Farmers Stadium, utility Michael Morgan tells League Week the Cowboys are aiming to restrict sides to 15 points per game in 2012.

Their previous best defensive record was in 2006, when they conceded 19.3 points a game. Henry’s edict is having success: so far this year, the average is 17.9.

“The goal is to try and keep them to less than 15 per game,” said Morgan. “We have no trouble scoring points, with blokes like JT (Johnathan Thurston) and Matt Bowen, obviously.

“I think, defensively we’ve been a lot better this year.

“The whole team is willing to work a lot harder for each other. I think that showed … against the Broncos.

“We did a lot of work on it in the pre-season and we talk about it before every game. Everyone’s close and good mates and we want to work for each other.”

Morgan made his debut in 2010 when flying fullback Bowen made his return from a knee reconstruction and is uniquely placed to assess the resurgence in “Mango”.

‘It’s awesome watching him catch the ball on the full and bring it back at speed,” said Morgan, 20.

“The way he’s going, he’s killing it.

“He’s definitely got a lot more speed back. He has his moments, he’ll yell if he has to. He’s not too loud, he’s not someone who’ll yell across the whole field at the team.”

Saturday night was a bittersweet occasion for the Cowboys with co-captain Matt Scott missing following the death of his mother.

“It’s been really hard to deal with it,” said centre Brent Tate.

“We’re a pretty tight-knit club and he’s a big part of this club. We’re all feeling his loss. It’s a tough time for the club, a tough time for Matty obviously and we’re just here to support him.

“I’m pretty sure he will be (back this week). I’m pretty sure that’s the way his mum would want it.”

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

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