Cowboys eye NRL dynasty

Cowboys eye NRL dynasty

With an unchanged line-up next season North Queensland look set to have the best shot at claiming back-to-back premierships since Brisbane last managed it over two decades ago.

No side has won back-to-back titles in a united competition since the Broncos managed the feat in 1992 and 1993 with sides chock full of internationals.

But for the first time since then, all 17 players that participated in a premiership triumph will be available for the club the following year.

All of the Cowboys’ side in the 17-16 win over Brisbane at ANZ Stadium on Sunday are on the club’s books for 2016.

Only Glenn Hall (retirement), Cameron King (Parramatta) and Robert Lui (Salford) are departing the club at the end of the year. In total the trio played just nine games this year.

In 2014, Sydney Roosters were only missing Luke O’Donnell from their premiership winning side of the previous season but fell a game short of the grand final.

This year 2014 premiers South Sydney couldn’t overcome the holes the departures of Sam Burgess and Ben Te’o left in their side.

But with the Cowboys there is genuine hope they can turn their maiden premiership triumph into consecutive titles, especially with the game’s No.1 player, Clive Churchill medallist Johnathan Thurston, at the helm.

As well as their NRL triumph the region’s No.1 rugby league school, Kirwan State High, won the national schoolboys title; their Under-20s team made the preliminary final; and their feeder club Townsville Blackhawks made the Queensland Cup grand final.

“It (depth of playing talent across all Cowboys squads) was an important part of my philosophy as a coach, particularly if you want that sustained success,” said Green, who joined the Cowboys for the 2014 season.

“Not just me as a coach because they had put some important pathways in there.

“We have had some success in those lower grades and hopefully we can keep producing those players.”

On his return to Red Hill this season Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett initially didn’t think he a side that could challenge for the premiership.

Those beliefs changed as the season progressed and Bennett said the Broncos were now well poised to build on the success of their 2015 campaign.

“We are in my first year back there with me as coach with the other coaches and we think there is a great upside,” Bennett said.

“The great clubs have that continuity of coaches and continuity of staff.

“We are optimistic. We won’t always end up here (in the grand final) every season (but) we have built something in the past and we can build it again in the future.

“We were probably a bit ahead of ourselves (this year).”

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