North Queensland will not shy away from the enormity of winning back-to-back NRL premierships, insisting they’ve proven to be a team intent on creating history.
No team has won consecutive titles in a unified competition since Brisbane in 1992-93, but Cowboys skipper Matt Scott says last year’s drought-breaking grand final win shows his side won’t be intimidated by the ominous task.
The golden point victory over Brisbane, which featured a thrilling last-minute try to Kyle Feldt to send the game to extra time, was the first in the Cowboys’ history.
And Scott believes that shaking that monkey off their backs has given the Cowboys the confidence to take on any challenge.
“For us there was a lot of talk at the start of last year about winning a premiership and wanting to be part of a team that does win the first premiership (for North Queensland),” Scott told AAP.
“So to have our names in the history book for that and then to possibly go back to back would be a great challenge for us.
“Sometimes you shy away from getting ahead of yourselves, but we’ve got a very good group where we can honestly talk about goals and it’s definitely one of ours.”
The fact that no team has been able to defend a premiership in 23 years highlights just how big a mountain the Cowboys have to climb in 2016.
But in addition to having the two-time reigning Dally M medal winner Johnathan Thurston in their ranks, Scott points out that stability could be the key to lifting the Provan-Summons trophy once more.
In Sunday’s (Monday 0600 AEDT) World Club Challenge clash with Leeds, the Cowboys will roll out the same starting 17 which triumphed over Brisbane last October.
“And that’s something which many teams haven’t really been able to do after a grand final win,” Scott explained.
“Obviously the stats aren’t on our side but that’s one advantage we will have.
“We take a lot of pride and fond memories from last year but we also know we’ve got to get better.
“If we can improve on the areas we weren’t great at last year, there’s no reason it can’t be done.”
Scott, meanwhile, said he expected the World Club Challenge to inspire Leeds to break out of their form slump and produce a more impressive display than their 56-12 loss to Widnes on Sunday.
“It tends to bring out the best in teams – especially ones trying to bounce back, and a quality team like Leeds are bound to do it,” he said.
“There’s a fair bit on the line for them and they’ll be back at home in front of a very loud crowd.”