North Queensland Cowboys coach Todd Payten has blasted his team after it was flogged 24-0 by the Panthers.

North Queensland Cowboys coach Todd Payten has roasted his troops in the aftermath of their 24-0 drubbing at the hands of the Penrith Panthers, declaring “we’re lucky it wasn’t 50-0”.

“Tough to watch,” Payten said in his post-match press conference after the Panthers Stadium clash.

“We didn’t put ourselves in the game at any stage.

“I thought we showed some glimpses of where we competed hard defensively, particularly in that first half. They had 100 more players with the ball and that was our own fault.

“Where and how we’re making errors at the moment is pretty concerning. I’m not sure if we have to do any tackling practice this week because we did plenty of it tonight.

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“We played a pretty good team and if we played the way we did tonight in terms of ball security (over the rest of the season) we don’t beat anyone. From that point of view I’m really disappointed.

“There’s not much else I can really add. I can’t sugar-coat it in any way. It was ordinary.”

Payten’s thrashing didn’t end there.

“We tackled ourselves into a stand-still,” Payten said.

“In my opinion we’re lucky it wasn’t 50-0.

“They bombed a couple of tries. Fifteen minutes to go I thought we were out on our feet. I was really disappointed in the last try we conceded because I thought there should have been more pressure from the marker on (Nathan) Cleary – and there wasn’t. And that was a decision, a personal decision.

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“And we weren’t competing hard enough around the ball when the ball went to ground.

“We’ve talked a big game all pre-season and shown some glimpses of it, but we’ve got bucketloads of work to do.”

Payten was a member of Wests Tigers’ 2005 premiership-winning team and got his first taste of head coaching in the NRL when he took over from Stephen Kearney as the Warriors’ interim mentor in June 2020.

The clash with the Panthers marked his first official game as the Cowboys’ coach in his three-year deal.

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