The North Queensland Cowboys had to dig deep to stave off Parramatta 17-10 in Townsville on Saturday and coach Paul Green was delighted with the character shown by his men.
Trailing 10-6 with 15 minutes remaining, the Cowboys looked destined for another honourable defeat but with Matt Scott and Jason Taumalolo leading the way up front they rallied to win running away.
"There was plenty of character in that win," Green said.
“We didn't get off to the start we wanted in the second half. It takes a lot of energy to get yourself back into the game and I thought the Eels were pretty desperate coming off the result they had last week [against the Storm].
"So it showed a fair bit of character from the team to not only get themselves back into the game, but then finish it off in the end."
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The ability to stay in the contest and finish games off has eluded the Cowboys in 2019 but the resilience shown to draw level through Kyle Feldt and then take the lead through Tom Opacic was encouraging.
“You can drop the bottom lip for a little while but you have to get back into the game," Green said.
"The game continues so you have to get back in it and we were probably guilty of not doing that last week. I thought we were definitely better tonight."
The Cowboys forwards all managed more than 100 metres with veteran Matt Scott (126m) and powerhouse Jason Taumalolo (233m) the standouts.
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“I thought Matt played really well, carried strong and defensively probably knocked out a few more minutes too," Green said.
"Losing Ben Hampton pretty much in the first set really put pressure on us, but it changed the way we could use that middle, so for Jason to step up and play 80 minutes the way he did was awesome for us."
On a sour note, centre Ben Hampton left the field two minutes into the game with a biceps injury and will be sent for scans.
Bench back-rower Mitch Dunn showed his versatility by moving into the centres and laying on a try for Kyle Feldt with a well timed pass.
John Asiata continued to show improvement at five-eighth, although Green is working on ways to simplify his role.
“For Johnny it was about making it a bit simpler and making his role clearer," Green said.
"So he didn't feel like he had to do too much, even though he was heavily involved at times, I think he kept it pretty simple for himself and he did his job well.”