In hindsight, North Queensland prop James Tamou admits the Cowboys did not know what hit them in round two.
But the Kangaroos hopeful claims the resurgent Cowboys are now primed to avenge last month’s controversial NRL loss to Newcastle that left North Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston with a black eye.
The jury is out on whether the man who battered Thurston black and blue – Knights enforcer Beau Scott – will overcome an ankle complaint and run out in Saturday’s return clash in Newcastle.
However, Tamou reckoned the Cowboys were ready for anything as they looked to extend a four-game winning streak.
“We owe them one,” he told reporters in Townsville.
“With the way we are going now we will be able to handle them.
“After a few attitude adjustments, I think we will be alright.”
Tamou – expected to be in the mix for the Kangaroos side named on Sunday night for May 1’s trans-Tasman Test – did not seem fazed by Newcastle forward Korbin Sims’ claim that they should expect more of the same round two treatment this weekend.
“At the start of the year we weren’t too ready for it,” he said of the Knights’ heavy-handed tactics aimed largely at Thurston.
“You can only prepare for so much but they came out with a bang.”
Newcastle’s ex-Cowboys forward Tariq Sims hinted that North Queensland could expect the NRL equivalent of the horrific storm that devastated the Hunter region in the last week.
“We are staring down the barrel of three losses and it’s not something that we are proud of,” Sims said.
Of the storm, Sims said: “It’s been a tough week this week with the floods.
“We really want to go out there and show the fans what we can do.
“We want to make sure we are doing them proud while they are doing it tough.”
Meanwhile, Tamou was not getting distracted by trans-Tasman Test speculation.
“It’s in the back of my mind but with the way I started the year (slowly) I am not too fussed,” he said.
NEWCASTLE V NORTH QUEENSLAND KEY STATS:
* 7 – Years since the Knights last defeated the Cowboys twice in the same season
* 2 – Wins by the Cowboys from their past seven games in Newcastle
* 70 – Points amassed by the Knights in consecutive wins over the Cowboys in Newcastle