Payten looks in mirror to break Cowboys’ losing cycle

Joel Gould |

Coach Todd Payten says he had constantly questioned himself during the Cowboys’ lean spell.
Coach Todd Payten says he had constantly questioned himself during the Cowboys’ lean spell.

North Queensland coach Todd Payten has revealed the personal introspection that helped his side break a five-game losing streak.

The Cowboys overcame South Sydney 28-22 at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night in what Payten conceded was an ugly win but also one that made him happy.

In a more deep and meaningful press conference than usual, Payten shed light on the pressures that NRL coaches are under when success proves to be elusive.

“I’ve been consumed by the job in the last two weeks more than I ever have before,” he said.

The most taxing strain, he reckoned, had been mental.

“Trying to find ways and reasons, Looking at the program. Looking at the messaging and looking at yourself and thinking about individuals, units, team … connection. All that stuff.” 

Payten admitted he had questioned himself.

“Always,” he said.

“That’s the first place you have got to look. My language, demeanour and messaging to the team is really important.

“I have been more conscious not to drag my feet for a couple of days and get over a loss quicker than what I have. Some weeks it has been 48 hours and I don’t think that is helpful.”

Cowboys co-captain and No.6 Tom Dearden, who scored a crucial second-half try against the Rabbitohs, said the coach was not to blame for the side’s previous losses. 

“Each week we are very well prepared by Toddy and the coaching staff and some of our performances over the last five weeks it has been our playing group not getting the job done,” he said.

“There are moments where we are going really good and moments where we are really bad. Our work is to narrow that gap and make sure when it is bad, it is not as bad as what it is.” 

The Cowboys now host Wests Tigers on Friday night and the week ahead will be different to the past five.

“Everyone can take a breath now. As much as we don’t want to admit it, it is always a different feeling on the back of a losing streak at training,” he said.

“This win will allow us to focus on our next job which is playing at home this week against the Tigers.”