Former Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston has slammed his side for its “atrocious” defence against the Roosters, in a disappointing home loss on Thursday night.
After a bright start, the Cowboys conceded 42 consecutive points, with Thurston calling the team’s defence “diabolical” after the main break.
Speaking on Nine’s coverage after the Roosters ran away 42-16 winners, Thurston was understandably downcast about the future for his beloved club.
“It’s pretty difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’ve had 84 points scored against you in two weeks,” he said.
“It’s tough times for the Cowboys moving forward, but defence is an attitude thing. You want effort and you want attitude in your defence and in that second half I didn’t see much of that at all tonight, so it’s worrying signs for the Cowboys.”
According to Thurston, the biggest issue for the Cowboys is the lack of communication when defending opponents.
“When I was watching their defence, especially their edge defence, there’s no talk when they’re getting off the line,” he said.
“The three man is not talking to his outside man or his inside man, there’s no pointing, so no one’s got any idea if they’re staying in or they’re staying out.
“It was pretty much a training run there for the Roosters in the second half.”
Thurston’s post-match comments came after he shredded the “flimsy” coverage from his former side during the second-half mauling.
“They started the first half really well, there was a lot of energy, attitude and effort, but the worst thing that happened to them was half-time,” he said.
“When half-time happened, their second half has just been diabolical. Their defence has been atrocious on the left edge, last week it was the right edge.
“They’ve had some injuries, but that’s not an excuse to defend the way they’ve defended.”
Thurston’s comments came after fellow league great Andrew Johns called the defence “not up to NRL standard during one particular play in the second half involving veteran Gavin Cooper.
“Nice piece of play from Lachie Lam, getting out of dummy-half with some footwork, but the defence once again, this is just not up to NRL standard,” he said on commentary during Nine’s NRL coverage.
“They roll the ruck, quick play-the-ball, one marker, and then Gavin Cooper just flings an arm out. That’s poor defence.”
Johns roasts Cowboys defence
Johns doubled down on his harsh assessment of the Cowboys’ defensive efforts following the end of the match.
“Some of the missed tackles tonight was like under 10’s stuff, that was a really poor performance. It’s going to be a long year,” he said.
“The one-on-one missed tackles, it was just the fundamentals and even the technique of tackling, just putting arms out and not digging in with your shoulders.
“All teams have got injuries. You’ve just got to get out there and tear in and put a jumper in front of the opposition.
“I’m sure Paul Green will be really disappointed with that performance, and the pressure now goes onto the Cowboys coach.”