So why are Cowboys so bad away from home?

NORTH Queensland must find some "road rage" quickly otherwise their 2014 NRL season will be over.

As it is, any hope of being part of finals action is fading with every away loss that bumps them a little further down the NRL ladder.

They stumbled to their seventh straight away loss to the last-placed Newcastle on Monday night, and to 11th position on the ladder, again raising the question: Why are the Cowboys so bad away from Townsville?

Rookie coach Paul Green wishes he had the answer, as does frustrated skipper Johnathan Thurston who has experienced a pretty average few months.

With two representative players, prop Matt Scott (six weeks) and winger Brent Tate (season) on the sidelines, and Thurston struggling to find his best form, Green has a tough few months to negotiate and needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat if the Cowboys are to repeat last year's effort when they made a late charge and gatecrashed the finals.

Their fate could be known well before that, however, with the club's coming few games including a tough clash with the third-placed South Sydney at home this weekend, before getting back on the road against St George-Illawarra, Cronulla and the Bulldogs following a round 17 bye.

"We need to start winning those games. We probably nearly need to win all five of them," Green said.

"It's frustrating because we're a different side defensively when we are away from home so we need to be better in that area.

"I think we're all feeling a little bit of frustration because we all know we're better than what we're showing."

Green had no doubt been counting on an away win against Newcastle, who went into Monday night's game on the back of seven straight losses, to silence critics of the club's abysmal away record.

"Every game away is an opportunity to shut everyone up regarding our away record," he said before latest loss.

But those critics will be shouting even louder after the Knights had little trouble putting the Cowboys to the sword 36-28, a score line only made respectable with three late tries after Newcastle took its foot off the pedal.

Green admitted the loss of Scott and Tate had a big impact on the team, but wasn't prepared to use it as an excuse.

"Scott and Tate are both Tests players so when you take Test players out of any team it's going to have a huge impact," the coach said.

"But that's the situation we're in so we aren't whinging about it, we just have to get on with it."


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