Cowboys face axe after falling to Tigers

Steve Zemek

North Queensland coach Paul Green has threatened to swing the axe following his side's 20-12 NRL loss to the West Tigers.

After a tumultuous week marked by off-field dramas, the Cowboys were given a reality check by the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Thursday night.

Prop Scott Bolton lined up for the Cowboys just four days after being charged with indecent assault following an alleged incident at a Bondi bar.

The loss to the Tigers only intensified their problems after recording just two wins in their last nine starts.

And Green hinted he could ring in changes for next Saturday's clash with South Sydney.

"At some point you've got to get something happening and you can't just keep rolling out the same people and say 'let's hope we win this week'," Green said.

"You've got to get something sparked."

The Cowboys only stayed in the game because of two fortunate tries.

First the Tigers allowed a Johnathan Thurston bomb to bounce and Shaun Fensom shovelled it onto Te Maire Martin to make it 8-6 in the Tigers' favour at the break.

After the resumption, the home side were once again threatening to run away with it when Antonio Winterstein copped a lucky deflection off a Benji Marshall grubber and raced away.

However, the Cowboys were otherwise ordinary and questions are being asked about whether the likes of Coen Hess and Matt Scott deserve places in the Queensland State of Origin team.

Former Queensland Origin representative and centre Justin O'Neill will also be lucky to retain his spot after making five errors.

The Tigers held onto the ball for just six of 16 sets in the second-half compared with the Tigers' 20 from 21 completion rate.

"We put a lot of energy into playing really well tonight and we were probably in too much of a hurry," Green said.

"We'd see an opportunity and we'd try a bit too hard."

Green praised Bolton for his ability to put aside what had been a difficult week.

"I thought he handled it really well," Green said.

"I was really proud of the team and the way they rallied around him and I thought he handled it well tonight.

"It's been a tough week for him personally."