The mental worries on the road that have long troubled North Queensland are a thing of the past, coach Paul Green says, and the Cowboys are out to prove that to the rest of the NRL on their way to this year’s premiership.
The Cowboys’ poor away record has traditionally stood in the way of their premiership claims. But in their second year under Green, the Townsville-based outfit have blown that away. Their 9-3 effort away from North Queensland this season was the NRL’s best.
And they will need to bring all of that with them to AAMI Park on Saturday night for the preliminary final against Melbourne as they chase just a second grand final berth and an inaugural premiership.
The Cowboys have won just two of 11 at the venue, including a round-25 loss last month.
But they were missing representative stars James Tamou and Michael Morgan for that game. Green says his team are in a good position ahead of their do-or-die clash with the Storm.
“That (away) record gives you that confidence as a team,” Green said on Friday in Melbourne.
“It was more a mental thing to get over for me. There was a few things over our scheduling and our training that we had to get right but that doesn’t worry us anymore. We have been able to win well on the road this year.
“To win on the big day, you have to win away so that is something we have addressed.”
Morgan played in the Cowboys’ qualifying loss to Brisbane and last week’s semi-final thumping in his return from an ankle injury.
“Him getting that game under his belt against the Broncos was good for him,” Green said.
“It wasn’t a great night for him; it was probably a game he felt he could have contributed more on the night. But last week’s game will be good for his confidence.”
As always, Johnathan Thurston will be key to any Cowboys’ hopes of victory.
“He has played in plenty of big games and he knows what is needed,” Green said.