FULLBACK SAYS TIME TO FOCUS ON FINALS
HISTORY is on the North Queensland Cowboys’ side in grabbing a dream top- four finish but fullback Lachlan Coote says it’s no time to get carried away just yet.
HISTORY is on the North Queensland Cowboys’ side in grabbing a dream top- four finish but fullback Lachlan Coote says it is no time to get carried away just yet.
The second- placed Cowboys head back into training tomorrow after a generous week- long break and hold a strong chance of earning just the second top- four finish in the club’s 21- season history.
No team placed in the toptwo at the end of the State of Origin period in the last five years has gone on to miss out on the top four, a crucial position given no team has ever won the grand final from outside the four.
Of the 20 teams that earned a best- four regularseason finish in that same time, 15 were in that position at the end of the disruptive representative period.
The only time North Queensland has finished in the top four was in 2007, when the Cowboys won their last five games straight to finish in third place before being knocked out at the preliminary final stage by Manly.
While the statistics are behind them, in- form fullback Coote ( pictured) said it was important the side did not lose any of the momentum from a strong middle part of the season.
“Obviously, the critics say we can’t win without Johnathan Thurston and we showed last week we can,” he said.
“We’re in a good position now and with the wins we’ve got now, we can roll forward.
“Hopefully, we can go into the back end of the season with a few more wins.”
The Cowboys came through State of Origin relatively unaffected by injury or suspension concerns and the whole squad should be fresh after an entire seven days off training after the bye weekend and long turnaround into Monday’s clash with Manly at Brookvale Oval.
NSW prop James Tamou should be the only high- profile omission from the squad when Cowboys coach Paul Green names his squad today.
Despite North Queensland still being in a position to claim the minor premiership, Coote said they needed to stick to the defensive effort shown against St George.
“Our ‘ D’ was unreal ( against St George) and although we let 12 points in, the last few weeks we let in way more points,” he said. “You don’t win comps with defence like that so we’ve got a lot more work to do.”