How do you improve on perfection?
North Queensland coach Paul Green hopes to find a way before Saturday night’s NRL grand final qualifier in Melbourne.
A Matt Scott-inspired Cowboys brutally ended the Sharks’ hopes of a long awaited maiden crown for yet another year, thrashing them 39-0 in Townsville.
North Queensland are now on track for their maiden premiership in the NRL club’s 20th anniversary year.
And co-captain Scott believed the best was yet to come for North Queensland despite their seven try romp over an outclassed Sharks.
“I have been dreaming all year (of a title) but this puts us a step closer,” he said.
“But Melbourne is a different kettle of fish. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.”
Scott added:”I just wanted to start strongly against a big physical pack
“It was pleasing I was able to do that.”
Test prop Scott set the tone by amassing a remarkable 136m in the first half alone, with four tackle busts and a line break as North Queensland made their first preliminary final since 2007.
He finished with a staggering 182m.
Cowboys coach Paul Green sent a shudder through the rest of the competition when he claimed North Queensland could get better.
“That was one of our better performances but there is still room to improve,” he said ominously.
“I don’t want to sound too harsh on them but we will need them to be (better) over the next week or two.”
But Green did pay credit to his side who bounced back from a gutting 16-12 finals win against Brisbane last week.
“Matt set the tone from the kick off and the boys got on the back of that,” he said.
“I was really happy with the ways the boys dealt with last week’s loss.
“If you hang onto that too long it can affect your preparation but they moved on.”
Pivot Michael Morgan also moved on, scoring two tries in a stunning display barely a week after beating himself up over his effort against Brisbane.
Morgan all but held himself personally responsible for the Broncos loss, however, played like a man possessed in league mad Townsville.
Green also played down concerns for flyer Justin O’Neill who copped a high tackle from Wade Graham and winger Kyle Feldt who hyper-extended his knee.
Both returned to the game.
Cronulla captain Paul Gallen left the ground in a moon boot after being troubled with an ankle complaint.
“That’s as good as a game you will play but Melbourne are going to challenge us more – we have to be ready for that,” Cowboys forward Ben Hannant said.
Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston added: “We still have a mountain to climb”.
North Queensland are now bracing for league-nuts Townsville to go even crazier as the Cowboys vie for their first grand final berth since their sole appearance in 2005.
However, the 49-season title drought continues for long suffering Cronulla who bounced back from last year’s wooden spoon result.
“They didn’t deserve that finish – the players have worked their butts off,” Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said.
Meanwhile, his captain Paul Gallen left the ground in a moon boot after being troubled with an ankle complaint.