Broncos and Cowboys fans, start booking your flights.
Former Test enforcer Greg Dowling has gazed into his crystal ball and is seeing an all-Queensland NRL grand final.
So impressed was Dowling by the sheer dominance of North Queensland’s pack in their blowout semi-final win over Cronulla, he reckons a repeat effort against Melbourne Storm will be enough.
“In finals football it’s all up to your forwards,” Dowling told AAP.
“You have a look over the last six weeks, their forwards have been pretty quiet – especially after Origin. They’ve struggled to win matches.
“But that was as convincing as you’ll ever see in a finals match, the other night.
“Their opposition weren’t a bad side either – a good forward pack too.
“I have no worries. If they play like that, they’ll beat the Storm.”
Dowling singled out prop Matt Scott for particular praise.
Scott ran for 168m against Cronulla, more than half of those metres coming in what Dowling described as an “unbelievable” performance in the first 20 minutes from the Cowboys co-captain.
“He laid the platform, the rest followed, and that was it. He deserves all the accolades,” he said.
But on-field is only three quarters of the battle, according to Dowling – the rest is up to the referees.
And given the ongoing debate surrounding Melbourne’s controversial wrestling tactics, officials have a huge role to play in Saturday’s preliminary final at AAMI Park, Dowling said.
“The Storm have been doing it for years. They’re good at it. Good luck to them,” he said.
“But the referees, it’s the way they interpret it. If they want a fast game they’ll penalise them.
“The heat’s on and the refs seem to react to that every time something’s been brought up over the last couple of years.
“If they do that the Cowboys will blow them away.”
As for the Broncos, who face Sydney Roosters on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium, Dowling said: “They’ve got the capability, it’s there for them.”
“They’re not cocky, they’re workers. The only thing that’s going to stop them is themselves.”