North Queensland’s club-record streak of eight straight NRL victories can reach double figures, but only if they keep level heads.
That’s the from utility Justin O’Neill who is preaching a message of calm ahead of a two-week stretch in which the Cowboys take on the NRL’s bottom two sides, Manly and Parramatta, before the bye.
It’s the perfect opportunity for North Queensland to further entrench themselves in a top-four that already holds a four-point buffer over the rest of the competition.
Starting with Saturday night’s home clash with the Sea Eagles, on current form the Cowboys should easily be able to make it 10 wins in a row, particularly after coach Paul Green declared his four State of Origin stars will come straight back into the side.
But even if they are rested, Green’s men have every reason to be confident after the club’s lesser lights stepped in to guide them to an 8-0 victory over the Wests Tigers on the weekend.
O’Neill revealed the significance of that result didn’t dawn on the players until later.
“I didn’t really know the club record,” he said.
“It wasn’t until after the game, we all realised that’s eight in a row. Now it’s a great feeling, to realise how well we’re going.
“But to keep level-headed is the main thing.”
Wide weapon Kane Linnett delighted in the gritty, against-the-odds triumph.
“It’s probably a game where a lot of people wrote us off,” Linnett said.
“But I had plenty of confidence in the team that we could do the job with the players that were coming in.
“For those boys coming back from Origin, it’s definitely a lot better for them knowing we’re not coming off a loss.”
O’Neill admitted the absence of representative quartet Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Michael Morgan and James Tamou made for a “rough” preparation this week in Townsville.
But it’s nothing the former Melbourne star believes they can’t handle.
“As long as everyone does their role individually, we should be right,” he said.