Excuses need to stop for Cowboys: Hannay

Stand-in coach Josh Hannay says NRL reputations count for nothing at struggling North Queensland.
Stand-in coach Josh Hannay says NRL reputations count for nothing at struggling North Queensland.

North Queensland interim coach Josh Hannay has delivered a brutal reality check to the NRL club's playing group, saying too many believe the team is better than it actually is.

The Cowboys have slumped to 14th on the ladder following Sunday's 30-10 humiliation by Gold Coast at CBUS Super Stadium.

Hannay said his team had been "horrible" in that loss, during which the Titans raced to a 20-0 halftime lead.

The tough love has continued following a review of the game, with Hannay accusing the club of living on reputation rather than reality.

"We have to change the culture here of looking for excuses," Hannay said.

"The reality is for two years we've been a bottom-four football team and the ladder doesn't lie.

"I get the feeling for too long we've looked at that and thought 'yeah, but we're actually better than that'.

"The facts are the facts, we've been a bottom-four football side for two years and it's not good enough.

"Only honesty around everything is going to help us work our way out of that hole."

Hannay has also defended captain Michael Morgan after the playmaker made an error-riddled return against the Titans in his first match since March after shoulder surgery.

He said the Queensland State of Origin star had copped most of the heat for the Titans loss but didn't deserve to be singled out.

"There was a lot of contributing factors that didn't help Michael on Sunday and we made it really, really easy as a group for them to be able to go out and isolate him," Hannay said.

"We've got to be a lot better than that and we've got to make everyone in the team's job a lot easier by doing your own job,"

Australian Associated Press