By Dylan Morris, North Queensland Correspondent, NRL.com
North Queensland coach Paul Green has credited his players with responding well to a half-time spray, brought on by a conservative first half performance that saw the Toyota Cowboys trailing at the break having missed several opportunities.
It evidently worked, with the Cowboys going on to win 22-14 after scoring three sharp tries in a nine minute period to resuscitate a season on life support.
Green was confident his team would be resurgent in the second half after a month of incredible efforts going unrewarded, and kept his half-time speech on-message.
"It was certainly sharp and to the point, but credit to the players they responded, particularly under pressure to execute when they did and to stay in the game and keep their composure and finish it off the way they did is a credit to the team," Green said.
"I was saying to 'Coops' (Gavin Cooper), 'sometimes I get my start of the game speech right, sometimes I get my half-time speech right.' So I've just got to put two together and we'll be right."
Second-rower Gavin Cooper was happy for the spray, especially given the result and what it means for the Cowboys' finals aspirations.
"It was pretty good, it still wasn't pretty but we found a way. Had a little bit of a blow-up at half-time so to speak, but we needed it," Cooper said.
"We played pretty safe in the first half and that wasn't getting us anywhere and we showed in patches of that second half what we can do when we actually play footy."
As for what was actually said, Cooper said the speech largely covered the urgency with which the Cowboys needed to play.
"We spoke about it before the game that our finals had started two weeks early, it was a final if we had lost last night that was pretty much our season done," he said.
"We had to find a way to win, we did that. No disrespect to the Tigers but we're going to have to be a whole lot better this week against the Broncos and we expect them to be a lot better than they were on Friday."
According to the second-rower Green's spray put the onus back on the players to take control of the game in the second half, and Cooper was pleased that it worked, but reframed from giving an exact recount of the expletive-laden talk.
First published on NRL.com.