North Queensland’s international prop and co-captain Matt Scott says the Cowboys must improve their NRL starts.

North Queensland co-captain Matt Scott says he can’t figure out why the Cowboys are giving up easy leads before finally turning up to play.

All he knows is that his NRL side cannot afford to keep doing it.

For the third consecutive match, the Cowboys conceded a try inside the opening 10 minutes and found themselves down before finally clicking and clawing their way back into the game late in the 20-16 loss.

Against the Warriors on Saturday, it happened in each half as the New Zealanders put extended pressure on the Cowboys’ tryline in the first 20 minutes of each term and grabbed two tries.

That left the Cowboys with the game to chase and prop Scott said it was hard to understand why his side was breaking to pressure early on.

“We’re letting teams off the hook early with errors or penalties and just giving them field position,” he said.

“For a couple of weeks in a row we’ve just conceded easy points and it’s on the first time we’ve defended our line.

“We’ve got to be a lot more desperate in defence and we’re waiting half a game to show a bit of desperation and we’ve got to show it from the start.”

The Cowboys were not without their chances to get over the line, especially after trailing by 14 points with 18 minutes to go, but were denied by errors once again and Scott said it was a position the top-four hopefuls shouldn’t be finding themselves in.

“We’re waiting 60 minutes to start playing some up-tempo footy and we can’t let ourselves get into that situation,” he said.

The encouraging thing, the Queensland Origin prop said, was the Cowboys were not far from getting things right.

“It’s very frustrating how close we are and how these little errors are hurting us,” he said.

“We’ve got a few new structures so we’re still learning as a side but we’ve got to be a lot better than that.”

Cowboys coach Paul Green ruled out any changes to the line-up next week against the Titans, but called for some desperation in defending their line early.

“The disappointing thing for me was that the first time we got tested down on our tryline we gave up a try,” he said.

The first year coach said he wasn’t too concerned by the second consecutive loss, but it was a matter of hard work and time before his side clicked.

“We’re far off in attack and not far off defensively,” Green said.