Grinners ... or sinners
FIVE reasons why the Cowboys will re-emerge as a premiership force. 1. Johnathan Thurston and Matt Bowen: When you have got two s uperstars l i ke t hese genuine match-winners you can never be counted out. Thurston is without question one of the great halfbacks of all time and when he and his teammates are all on the same page can be close to unstoppable. The same goes with Bowen. Three years of injury have disrupted him but he showed signs in pre-season that he was getting back to his elusive, confident best. 2. New blood: After years of clinging to the same player personnel, hoping they would rediscover the form that took the Cowboys surging into the 2007 finals, management finally decided enough was enough at the end of 2010. A combination of youth and well established experience, in Dallas Johnson and Brent Tate, have given the team a new look and with it a feeling that better times are ahead. 3. Halves depth: While Thurston without question holds the key for the Cowboys, the long-standing struggle to find him a halves part- made some good buys in the offseason but two of their best – Brent Tate and Antonio Winterstein – are set to spend a large chunk of the first half of the season on the injured list. Although they will be back, the fear is that by the time they do they will have been so badly missed that North Queensland will be chasing their own tails to make up ground. 3. The inner sanctum: When the Cowboys are losing. rumours of inner unrest between senior players and coaching staff invariably rear their head and have on more than few occasions over the past two seasons. The team has rarely reacted well when that starts. They will hope an off-season overhaul crushes any more repeat unrest. 4. Prop forwards: Matt Scott is one heck of an imposing presence for the Cowboys, but he has a young support cast around him in the f r o n t r o w . W h i l e t h e y unquestionably come with plenty of potential, props historically don’t hit their peak until their mid 20s to 30s. If Scott is hurt the question is, is there enough drive in the engineroom to step up? 5. Unwillingness to experiment: Externally one of the greatest recent criticisms of the Cowboys has been decisions to stick with what they know in team selections despite disappointing results rather than try something new. Give the youngsters a chance.