Manly shock sloppy Cowboys

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TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA — MARCH 18: Brenton Lawrence (#8) of the Sea Eagles celebrates after scoring a try during the round three NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Manly Sea Eagles at 1300 SMILES Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

A WOUNDED Cowboys outfit will need to find their attacking spark after they failed to execute in a shocking loss to the Sea Eagles.

North Queensland went into the clash without big name forwards Matt Scott (ACL) and Jason Taumalolo (suspension), and the absence of the duo showed as the side were embarrassed 30-8 by an under-siege Manly side.

While the forwards did their best to get the team moving forward, nothing worked for the Cowboys on a humid night in Townsville.

Johnathan Thurston’s side were sloppy in attack and unable to shut down a determined Manly outfit, who picked up their first win of the season after a week in which the future of coach Trent Barrett was questioned.

The Cowboys missed the power of Jason Taumalolo.

The Cowboys missed the power of Jason Taumalolo.Source:News Corp Australia

It was a lacklustre performance from the home side following two weeks of golden point victories.

The Cowboys finished with 11 errors and conceded nine penalties in a dishevelled performance that few will be happy with.

Similar to their Round 1 win over Canberra, North Queensland had plenty of help with the majority of possession at 52 per cent, plus the advantage in the penalty count, but they struggled to execute.

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Hooker Jake Granville pulled off his trademark move from dummy-half in the 27th minute to barrel over the line for North Queensland’s only try of the game.

After losing big names like Scott, Taumalolo, Lachlan Coote (calf) and Antonio WInterstein (arm) ahead of the clash, the Cowboys were always going to struggle but few expected it would end with this big a scoreline.

Scott Bolton definitely did his best to stand up in the place of his front row partner Scott, but it was simply not enough to get his team over the line.

Kalyn Ponga was well contained in his first start at fullback.

Kalyn Ponga was well contained in his first start at fullback.Source:News Corp Australia

Coen Hess and Ethan Lowe were also equally impressive in racking up some big metres.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, things are not looking up ahead of their derby clash with the Titans, with Justin O’Neill (hamstring) taken off in the first half and unable to return while Kyle Feldt struggled greatly throughout with an ankle injury.

The decision to fight Jason Taumalolo’s shoulder charge suspension of one week will also be felt even more next week, as they go into the meeting off the back of this loss without their best forward once again.

They will face their Queensland little brothers, who are suffering from an even worse injury crisis, on the Gold Coast next Saturday.

Originally published as Manly shock sloppy Cowboys