‘ I hope our team has turned a corner’
I MUST admit I’m a little nervous about writing to you all for my first ever column but it’s never been better to be back in North Queensland.
And it’s never been better to be back in the NRL playing top-flight rugby league for the North Queensland Cowboys.
My family and I enjoyed our time in France and it’s an experience I’ll never forget, but being out there at Suncorp Stadium last weekend in front of a crowd of 45,000 spectators in such a massive game made me glad to be back in the NRL.
I’ve always known how tough and tenacious NRL footy is and it’s something that never leaves a player once they’ve experienced it.
But I could feel a few nerves coming up for that game, especially knowing how huge it was for my club and the fact we hadn’t had much success against the Broncos in recent years.
As everyone knows there is a deep rivalry between the two teams that never fails to produce an entertaining game. To break a losing streak of seven games against the Broncos was an achievement in itself.
What pleased me the most in that game was our defence and willingness to hang in there in the second half. I know it wasn’t the best second-half performance as we didn’t have a lot of possession and turned over the ball
Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson and Ray Thompson celebrate last Friday’s win a few times, but each player kept turning up for the other and scrambling defence does win you games sometimes. Saying that, we’ll have to be on our best game against the Newcastle Knights.
They’ll be on a high after smashing the Panthers the way they did and our ball control will need to be better. We’ll have to put up a dominant defensive display. I did catch some glimpses of the game and straight away I knew we were in for a real battle.
The Knights have some solid, mobile blokes and their back five has plenty of firepower.
If we give their outside backs just a little bit of space they’ll run right through. So we know tomorrow night is going to be just as tough as last week, if not tougher, and it’d be great to play my first ever home game for the Cowboys with a big crowd behind us. It’s going to be a special night in particular for a couple of lads in our ranks. First up I must give a plug to Ash Graham for reaching his 100th game for the club which is a huge achievement.
Ash was probably the best player on the ground for us against the Broncos and he took a lot of pressure off us in the middle.
The bloke is the ultimate rugby league professional and he deserves to reach such a massive milestone.
Another mention has to go to Tariq Sims for being named to make his NRL debut tomorrow night. It was always going to happen sooner or later – in my opinion sooner – and he thoroughly deserves his place. Tariq has trained the house down over the pre-season and I can’t speak highly enough of him. He’s itching to get out there and I know he’ll be a real player for the future.
And congratulations to my teammate Glenn Hall and his wife Kylie on the birth of their baby girl Indiana.
To wrap up my first column I must say I have been hearing a lot of talk about our team having turned a corner and I certainly hope we have.
But it’s important not to get carried away. I know it’s a matter of taking things week by week and just chipping away at training.