Cowboys to wait longer on Holmes, McLean

Scott Bailey
Valentine Holmes is likely to be sidelined for a further week for struggling North Queensland

(Sorry, had to add par on Michael Morgan. Adds seventh par, rest unchanged)

North Queensland face another week without Valentine Holmes and Jordan McLean as pressure mounts on coach Paul Green and the Cowboys.

Saturday night's 36-20 pounding by the Wests Tigers marked the Cowboys' third straight loss, having now conceded 89 points in their past three games.

The first half in particular was woeful for the 2015 premiers, falling behind 34-0 at the break in their worst start to a game in 13 years.

Making matters worse for North Queensland is the absence of star fullback Holmes.

The Cowboys had initially hoped he would miss just one week with an ankle injury, but Green confirmed neither he or prop McLean (calf) would face Newcastle next week.

"They'll probably be another week," coach Paul Green said.

Playmaker and captain Michael Morgan is also still not expected to return until August, after undergoing a second operation on his shoulder following an infection.

North Queensland's big loss came on the same day Stephen Kearney was sacked as Warriors coach.

Green is the most successful coach in Cowboys' history, delivering them their first premiership and now contracted until the end of 2021.

But after two years out of the finals, he will need the Cowboys to catch some form fast to stop any further pressure from building.

The Cowboys have arguably the toughest run ahead of any team, with six straight games against top-eight teams.

They face Newcastle on Saturday night, followed by Parramatta, Sydney Roosters, Penrith, Manly and Canberra.

"I'm not worried about who we play," Green said.

"People have said we have a hard run coming up but I would like to know when we get easy games.

"There aren't any easy games and if you don't turn up on any given day it doesn't matter who you play, you won't be in the contest.

"The first half, we weren't in the contest. In the second half when we knuckled down we were in the contest."

Asked how he would approach his assessment of the Tigers loss with his players, Green said: "I'll just take the honest approach.

"We've got to look at the performance for what it is. There was some good stuff and some really, really bad stuff.

"We've got to the get to the bottom of why we're getting the really bad stuff."