Premiers North Queensland hold no fears for Cronulla as the table-topping Sharks play for NRL title favouritism on Monday night.
The Cowboys and Sharks will go head to head in a genuine blockbuster at Southern Cross Group Stadium with the stakes huge for both sides.
Cronulla has the chance to put a six-point gap on Johnathan Thurston’s Cowboys heading into the luxury of a bye weekend.
“So that’s four points. That’d be awesome. I reckon we can get the Cowboys here. We’re on a high here and all the boys are pretty confident,” Sharks winger Valentine Holmes said on Thursday.
The Cowboys eliminated Cronulla from last year’s finals series in a 39-0 rout in Townsville before opening their premiership defence with a tough 20-14 triumph over the Sharks in a round one at 1300SMILES Stadium.
But Townsville-bred Holmes says victories over bogey sides Manly and Canterbury amid a nine-game winning streak has given the Sharks the confidence they need as they continue their best run in 14 years.
“One main thing we thrive on is belief in the club. Belief in the structures, belief in each other,” said the competition’s leading tryscorer.
“If we stick to what we know and play our best footy, I think we can get a win there.
“Probably our hardest bogey teams are actually Manly and the Bulldogs. We never usually play that good against them, but it’s usually a good game against the Cowboys.”
Holmes cites the Sharks’ newfound ability to never panic as what sets the class of 2016 apart from Cronulla outfits of years past.
It was that steely composure that helped the Sharks clinch a come-from-behind win over the Bulldogs with a last-minute try to Ricky Leutele on Monday night.
“We knew in the last five minutes when we had two more sets that we could capitalise there and finish,” he said.
“That’s what we stuck to.”