“Credit to Josh’s team, they certainly played with a lot of spirit. I’m not a coach to be negative on the opposition but they didn’t let us play well. They got in our face and we have to counteract that.
“We can play a lot better than that … I’m not taking any credit away from the Cowboys but we can be smarter in the way we play.”
The win completed a tough week for the Raiders, who were under fire from star playmaker Jack Wighton for failing to consult the players about the design of their jersey for Indigenous Round.
But at least they were the ones with the two competition points. New Cowboys coach Hannay, who took over from Paul Green, has done a good job since taking the reins but lamented some questionable decision-making from his playmakers when the game seemed there for the taking.
It would seem age is no barrier to expectation in his set-up in Townsville.
“At some point as a footballer, you need to grow up and do your job. Three weeks straight, it’s individuals not doing their job when the games come their way. There were some moments when some of our younger players didn’t do their job,” Hannay said.
“We just lacked that quality and class and experience. Their intentions are right but it just flows right throughout our game. I could see a tired Raiders outfit that were hanging on by a thread. But we just don’t understand that, at the moment, as a football side. You cannot do it for 65-70 minutes. You can’t clock off.”
Cowboys forward John Asiata looked to suffer a nasty knee injury but somehow returned late in the match to play it out after a period of play where North Queensland only had 12 on the field. Hannay took responsibility for the interchange errors.
“Through my own error in judgment, I had us down to 12 men. I thought Canberra were out on their feet and went for the killer blow.
“I guess it’s a good sign he was able to go back out but, at this stage, it would be too early to tell the severity.”
Canberra took a two-point lead into the break before the Cowboys suffered the first of a few second-half blows when teenage fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow left the field because of a head knock from Josh Papalii.
The Maroons prop was put on report and the Cowboys marched on as ball-playing forward Asiata produced a lovely piece of work to set up Jason Taumalolo under the posts.
North Queensland’s lead lasted only a few minutes. Curtis Scott went over in the 55th minute and Canberra went back in front courtesy of a sideline conversion from Jarrod Croker.
It seemed destined to go to the wire and the Cowboys gave themselves every chance with a crucial captain’s challenge that turned a seven-tackle set for the Raiders into a drop out.
But when Asiata departed briefly due a knee injury, they were down to 12 players and the Raiders held on for the kind of win that is priceless when it comes to the race for a spot in the top four.
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