Put through ringer to regain form

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have been getting beaten on the field and now they are being tested off it in an effort to rejuvenate their premiership campaign.

The players not required for Representative Round have been put through intense fitness drills to rediscover the effort that took them to the 2015 NRL premiership.

"The last couple of days haven't been pretty, I've got away with a little bit because my neck is still a little bit sore, but a few of the boys they've been put through the ringer," Gavin Cooper said. 

"It's something we haven’t had for… 10 weeks, since pre-season. It's just getting back to hard work, we've let a couple of our effort areas slip on the field and I think just an old-fashioned bash-up might get the boys talking again and bring back those little efforts." 

Cooper is happy to have the tough sessions, and is confident that the hard work will regain the Cowboys' lost form. 

"Yeah, old-school mentality has got to come back at some stage, footy is a tough game and if you can't do the tough stuff at training you can't do it in a game," Cooper said. 

"The last couple of days have been a bit of a wake-up call for a couple of the boys and we've got a couple of days off now so we can't complain too much." 

Assistant coach Todd Payten spoke about the mentality of the Cowboys' as a key area they had been weak in over their stretch of poor form. 

"[The training] was just to try and toughen us up a little bit mentally, also the fact that we're not happy where we are and the way that we've defended. I think at times it's been a concentration thing and a mentality thing so just trying to tighten it up," Payten said. 

Payten is also confident that the Cowboys haven't lacked the ability to win their games, and that they've been, "beaten by effort." 

"The way that we've defended is not up to our standards, we've leaked in well over 20 points on average per game," the assistant coach said. 

"If we can consider ourselves a championship side we have to get that down… we're aware of where we're at and we are just trying to rectify that and it starts here at training."

First published on NRL.com.