Johnathan Thurston slams Cowboys’ ‘diabolical’ and ‘atrocious’ defence

Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston has blasted his former side’s “diabolical” defence against the Roosters, in a disappointing 42-16 loss to kick off Round 9.

The Cowboys led 6-0 and were only down 12-6 at halftime, but continued a worrying trend of capitulating in the second half, especially in defence.

“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,” Thurston said on Channel 9.

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“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.”

Thurston believes the Cowboys are suffering from a fundamental lack of communication in their defensive approach.

“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.”


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The Cowboys second half defensive display was made all the more difficult to stomach by the fact that they got it right in the first half against the best attacking team in the competition.

“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,” Thurston 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.

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“They’ve had some injuries, but that’s not an excuse to defend the way they’ve defended.”

Thurston’s damning assessment was echoed by Eighth Immortal Andrew Johns who labelled the Cowboys defence not up to scratch during one play 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,” Johns said.

Johnathan Thurston speaks to Cowboys coach Paul Green.Source:Getty Images

“They roll the ruck, quick play-the-ball, one marker, and then Gavin Cooper just flings an arm out. That’s poor defence.”

Johns compared the second half defensive display to kid’s footy in an ugly fallout to the Cowboys latest loss.

The Cowboys defence is not up to NRL standard at times.Source:Getty Images

“Some of the missed tackles tonight was like under 10s stuff, that was a really poor performance. It’s going to be a long year,” Johns 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.”

Originally published as‘Diabolical, atrocious’: JT was asked to assess his beloved Cowboys — he didn’t miss

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