FEELS LIKE HOME

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

The Cow­boys ran riot that day, with even Johnathan Thurston mak­ing more me­tres than any Souths for­ward and full­back Lach­lan Coote ex­pected the vo­cal Cairns crowd to in­spire an­other strong per­for­mance this week­end.

“We’ve ob­vi­ously got plenty of sup­port up there with the Cow­boys,” Coote said.

“It al­most feels like a home game and it’s al­ways good to take some footy up to Cairns. They love their footy up there.

“It’s al­ways a tough ef­fort com­ing up against Souths with the for­ward pack they’ve got. You let them get a good roll- on and they’re hard to stop.

“If we just keep the ball early and keep com­plet­ing and turn them around in that hot Cairns sun. I’m sure we’ll be right.”

The match will be a home­com­ing of sorts for Cow­boys util­ity Ben Hamp­ton, who played his ju­nior foot­ball for the Mareeba Glad­i­a­tors.

Hamp­ton has fond mem­o­ries of run­ning around Bar­low Park as a young­ster and he was ex­cited for the chance to pull on a Cow­boys jer­sey in front of his fam­ily and friends.

“I think a few of my old school­mates will head down,” Hamp­ton said.

“My mum and dad will def­i­nitely head down.

“I played a lot of rep footy there ( as a ju­nior). We had a few car­ni­vals there. I haven’t played there for a long time so it will be good to run out on the old field again.”

The Cow­boys are in an im­pres­sive patch of form, hav­ing won four of their past five be­fore last week­end’s bye to be on the fringes of the top four.

Coote cred­ited that turn­around to an im­proved at­ti­tude in de­fence and the classy cus­to­dian was con­fi­dent the Cow­boys had not lost any mo­men­tum dur­ing their short break.

“I think just the ef­fort ( has been the dif­fer­ence). Our ‘ D’ has been out­stand­ing, but the weeks be­fore we were sort of just go­ing through the mo­tions,” Coote said.

“That ef­fort’s been there the last six weeks and ev­ery­one’s putting in for each other and I think that makes the game a whole lot eas­ier.

“I back us to get up there in the top four if we keep rolling the way we are. We’ve just got to keep mak­ing those ex­tra ef­forts and work­ing hard for each other and hope­fully that’ll take care of it­self.”

FOND MEM­O­RIES: North Queens­land Cow­boys util­lity Ben Hamp­ton gets a pass away against the West Tigers. FROM BACK PAGE Pic­ture: ALIX SWEENEY

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