Cowboys need to look to NRL future: Green

Oliver Caffrey

North Queensland's disastrous NRL campaign could result in the Cowboys blooding young talent for the rest of the season.

The pre-season premiership favourites slumped to their 13th loss of the year after being blown away in the second-half by Canberra on Saturday night.

They are 15th on the ladder, just one win ahead of wooden-spoon fancy Parramatta in a dramatic reversal of fortunes after making last year's grand final.

As future immortal Johnathan Thurston winds down his illustrious career in Townsville, Cowboys coach Paul Green says he will look ahead.

"You've just got to keep competing. We've never been known to give up and we're not about to give up now," Green said.

"It's getting the balance right between playing to win each week, but also probably start to look for one eye on next year in terms of giving some young guys opportunities.

"But we've still got seven games to go so we're going to make sure we're in all of those."

Although they were smashed 38-12 by the Raiders, there was just two points in it with 15 minutes to go.

But with finals still a possibility for Canberra, the desperate home side ran in four quick tries to destroy the Cowboys' hopes in below-zero temperatures at GIO Stadium.

Green was perplexed by how his team faded so badly.

"I thought the way we finished that (first) half we definitely got ourselves back in the game," Green said.

"Just the basic fundamentals about building into the game as a team, we're just not doing,.

"We couldn't sustain that pressure and when we had them down their end, we would give away a stupid penalty and concede some points."