The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys' finals hopes have been left on life support after their 20-10 defeat to the Brisbane Broncos in Townsville on Thursday night.
Once again the Cowboys' effort was there, but they were simply unable to breach the Broncos defence, despite multiple consecutive sets on Brisbane's line.
It's a problem they must address if they do make it into the finals, with a lack of points costing them against top four sides in the last month according to coach Paul Green.
"No doubt the effort is there but again we lacked a bit of execution. I thought the way we started that second half, I thought if we'd got some points early I think it would have made a difference," Green said.
"We were creating some opportunities but we probably just lacked a little bit of polish and probably a little bit of cohesion I suppose.
"That's probably a by-product of disruptions in the team, that's not an excuse, we had our chances and it's a little bit of a story of our season, we're putting the effort in to put ourselves in the position to win those games but we just can't ice it."
Halfback Michael Morgan was disappointed with the loss, but confident that if they did get a chance to play finals they would be able to get their execution up to scratch.
"We still completed well, I think we could just be a bit crisper with the ball," Morgan said.
"It was a bit clunky at times and whether that's from over-thinking things or guys not being on the same page I'm not too sure but that will be a big area we need to improve on.
"The Broncos showed tonight, they obviously did a lot of work through the week on their defence and they held us out for a long time there and unfortunately we couldn’t get enough points."
According to Morgan the Broncos' defence turned the game on multiple occasions, as they scrambled to keep the Cowboys out, forcing errors on several occasions to release the pressure.
"We had a lot of momentum and it gets to a point where you do need points off the back of it and we weren't able to get them and eventually they got down and got one on us," he said.
"That hurts and that's what it's going to be like if we keep going further in the competition against the good teams. Hopefully we learn from it and we get a chance to do it again next week."
First published on NRL.com.