North Queensland co-captain Johnathan Thurston says the Cowboys are determined not to fall victim to their NRL finals jinx again.
Thurston said the Cowboys only had themselves to blame for their unlucky recent finals run and hoped to turn the tide against Cronulla in their must win semi-final in Townsville on Saturday night.
“Hopefully we don’t put ourselves in that situation again,” said Thurston, still buzzing from receiving a fourth Rugby League Players’ Association player’s player award on Tuesday night.
“We only have ourselves to blame in that area in the past.
“We know destiny is in our own hands and we need to play that way.”
North Queensland have not been able to take a trick despite making the finals for the fifth straight year.
Their ill-fated run began when Manly scored off a Kieran Foran knock-on in their 22-12 2012 semi-finals loss.
In 2013 Cronulla scored a seventh tackle try to down North Queensland 20-18 in the finals first round.
And last year the Cowboys looked to have scored a match winning try only to be denied due to a contentious knock on call in their 31-30 semi-final loss to Sydney Roosters.
In their 20th anniversary season, North Queensland have only ever qualified for one grand final – way back in 2005.
But Thurston appeared to embrace the underdog tag this year, saying Cronulla were the team to beat.
“I can’t see why they would (be daunted by travelling to Townsville),” he said.
“They have beaten us twice this year, they have beaten top eight teams throughout the season.
“They are probably the form team of the competition.
“Why would they fear coming up here?”
Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott admitted he was concerned that Cronulla were the only team to have beaten North Queensland twice this year.
“It is disappointing that they have beaten us twice, it’s a bit of a worry too,” he said.
“Now we have lost to Brisbane (16-12 final first round last week) we have to do it the hard way.”