The pain of Penrith’s doomed 2010 NRL finals campaign is driving form fullback Lachlan Coote’s maiden premiership quest with North Queensland.
Nothing, it seemed, could wipe the smile off Coote’s face after he again impressed in the Cowboys’ 39-0 NRL semi-final romp over Cronulla that booked a grand final qualifier in Melbourne on Saturday night.
Then his last serious crack at the NRL title with Penrith was mentioned.
Coote still smarted from No.2 seed Penrith’s straight sets exit five years ago.
And he feared the third placed Cowboys would suffer the same fate after their finals opening 16-12 loss to Brisbane recently.
“That was my first finals win,” Coote said after the seven try rout.
“In 2010 we had an outstanding team, finished second and it was devastating taking those two losses (with Penrith).
“I don’t want that feeling again.
“I have learned from it. I have let the boys know about it and hopefully we come out on top (against Melbourne).”
Coote has already overcome significant obstacles just to run out in the Cowboys No.1 jersey.
The ex-Panthers fullback arrived in Townsville last year as the man to replace club legend Matt Bowen.
He lasted mere moments on North Queensland debut at the 2014 Auckland Nines before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
By the time he was fully fit, Michael Morgan had made the Cowboys fullback position his own before switching to pivot, opening the door again for Coote.
He has not looked back, providing a welcome foil for playmaker Johnathan Thurston as North Queensland remain in sight of a maiden title in their 20th anniversary season.
No wonder he was keen to soak up the finals mad atmosphere at league heartland Townsville ahead of their grand final qualifier against the Storm.
“That’s a tough gig (Melbourne) but we will get this town behind us and hopefully get a win for them,” Coote said.
“You have to embrace it. These opportunities don’t come around often.”