GO THE COWS

CAN THEY ELUDE THE EELS FOR RACE TO GRAND FI­NAL?

The Weekend Post - - Front Page - JON TUX­WORTH

ODDS don’t mat­ter when it comes to fi­nals and the Cow­boys will be out to defy them once again against the Eels hype-train tonight at ANZ Sta­dium.

Par­ra­matta has rock­eted into sec­ond favouritism in the pre­mier­ship race and seem to have it all fig­ured out un­der for­mer Cairns Brothers coach Brad Arthur, but pure heart is fu­elling the fire for an­other Cow­boys boilover in Syd­ney.

Paul Green has sug­gested the Eels are cer­tain­ties to qual­ify for their first pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal since 2009, but in the spirit of Cow­boys teams of the past, he has them primed to keep the dream alive.

TE Maire Martin ex­pected to use a note­book and pen more than play­ing NRL this year.

On the outer with Pen­rith and in need of a change, Martin didn’t think twice when his man­ager asked “would you like to go to North Queens­land and learn un­der JT?”

When he touched down in Townsville in June he ex­pected to be learn­ing from the game’s great­est play­maker this year, not deputis­ing for him.

The 21-year-old ex­ited the Pan­thers af­ter it be­came clear they viewed skip­per Matt Moy­lan as their long-term No.6.

Iron­i­cally Martin is play­ing his sec­ond fi­nal this week­end against Par­ra­matta while Moy­lan, on leave for per­sonal is­sues, is not.

Thurston’s sea­son-end­ing shoul­der in­jury was a mas­sive blow, but Martin feels his shift north feels like fate as a re­sult.

It’s un­for­tu­nate Johnno got in­jured, (but) it was prob­a­bly per­fect tim­ing when I came up,” Martin said. “Ob­vi­ously

you don’t want some­one like that to get in­jured but it opened up a good win­dow for me to play and play­ing fi­nals is some­thing re­ally spe­cial to me.

“They (Pen­rith) told me to go back and find some form, they ended up putting Matty Moy­lan there.

“They must have rang my man­ager and he said we can look some­where else if you’re keen, it might be tough for you to get back into the team.

“He said would you be keen to go up to North Queens­land and learn off JT? There was only one an­swer there.”

Thurston still trav­els with the team, giv­ing Martin the lux­ury of ask­ing him for ad­vice at half­time of games.

Martin has wasted lit­tle time win­ning over his new team­mates by play­ing with a me­dial lig­a­ment in­jury heav­ily strapped for the last month.

“(The mo­ti­va­tion was) just the op­por­tu­nity to play first grade, you don’t get too many chances,” he said. “I don’t know how many shots I’ll get next year.”

Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD-CHISHOLM

PRIMED: Cow­boys halves pair­ing of Michael Mor­gan and Te Maire Martin.

Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD-CHISHOLM

CRUNCH TIME: Te Maire Martin (left) and Michael Mor­gan ahead of tonight’s semi-fi­nal.

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