Having been brought up in the Melbourne Storm system, it was hardly surprising South Sydney centre Matt King was shaking his head on Saturday night.
The Rabbitohs had just beaten North Queensland 20-16 to move into the top eight, but King was not satisfied.
“It’s disappointing – we haven’t strung together an 80-minute performance yet all season,” King said.
“We need to start doing that pretty quick and start playing some consistent footy.”
King was unhappy because the Cowboys had a chance to snatch victory at the death, after the Rabbitohs had surged to a 20-0 lead after as many minutes.
“That first 40 minutes was almost flawless – we need to start producing that in the second half,” King said.
“It’s disappointing when we come out and let the Cowboys back into the game … they should never have got as close as they did.”
Added five-eighth John Sutton:
“That second half was just ugly. We didn’t get to our kick in the first set and that got us off on the wrong foot.
“It was a good 40, we came in at halftime and spoke about doing that again, we went out there and let ourselves down by not doing what we did in the first half.”
With games against top four sides Cronulla and St George Illawarra over the next fortnight, coach Michael Maguire knows his outfit can’t afford lapses like they displayed against the Cowboys.
“Being able to do it for 80 minutes, that’s our biggest key,” Maguire said.
“To be able to change the momentum in the game, that’s something that we really need to work hard at to develop in our game.”
The poor start wasn’t the only thing the Cowboys were livid at after the game, with skipper Johnathan Thurston critical of what he perceived to be different interpretations in relation to protection for kickers.
Just moments after Tariq Sims was placed on report for a late hit on Souths five-eighth John Sutton after a kick, Thurston was also taken out in similar fashion by King.
Not only was King not put on report, but there was no penalty coming the Cowboys’ way either.
“King knocked me fair on my arse – he wasn’t making a tackle at all,” Thurston said.
“It’s just a bit of consistency there that we’re asking for.
“They said it was fine, but you’ve got to wrap your arms around to make a tackle, that’s what they told us – I don’t think King did that.”