With their final still hoping despite a loss of 30-18 for the Rabbitohs, Paul Green would like nothing more than to have his skipper Michael Morgan on the field and to call the shots when things get tight.
The Cowboys mentor admitted that inexperience in halves and some bad last-tackle options turned out to be expensive in the final phase of Saturday night's game, but he is adamant. Morgan & # 39; s absence does not play in the minds of his players.
"Yes, we would like to have him on the team, but he wasn't that we had to go ahead and do your job," said Green.
"Many of us did our job tonight, but some of us didn't.
"I think Morgs will probably still miss next week at this stage. He had his appointment [with a specialist] last week, so we'll see how he goes, but I'd say he'll probably miss the Sharks game. "
Morgan did not play since his concussion in Origin III, and in his absence, the young half-back Jake Clifford led the team to a failed victory over the Roosters in round 17 and had a mixed bag against the Rabbitohs.
The 21-year-old produced a 40-20 kick in the 28th minute and had many good moments, but with the game on the line in the last 10 minutes, it was the match-hardened Bunnies playmakers who came through.
"There is a bit of game management, insight into what is going on in the game and what we really need and following some instructions," Green said.
"Although we cannot play as expansively as we would like with those guys [Clifford and Asiata] in halves, we still played enough to get ourselves into a winning position.
"We had the game there [on 18-12]. We bombed an attempt, but even with the penalty remaining about eight minutes to go, we should probably have closed the game … very disappointing."
"We just didn't manage to maintain any kind of pressure due to the way we ended our sets and that was a classic example.
"We got a tap, started, came out of our end with eight. We should have been smart enough to find a non-pointer at the end of the game, if not a restart."
The bombed try Green number took the lead in the 62nd minute with the Cowboys 18-12 and within the range of a win that would put them at 16 competition points equal to the eighth placed Knights.
Rookie winger Murray Taulagi only had to catch the ball and sprinted away to score, but he brought the pass down and the Rabbitohs made the most of the delay.
"I think that was probably one of our only mistakes in the second half," said Green.
"Aside from that, I thought Murray was good, I thought he was strong, he made some good reads, he had some good wears."
The Cowboys are going to Cronulla on Thursday to tackle a desperate Sharks outfit in the grip of a losing five-match streak.
If they want to keep their final hope alive, the Cowboys will have to do without Morgan.