A crash course in “big game footy” has primed wounded premiers North Queensland for Friday night’s NRL grand final re-match with Brisbane in Townsville.
The Cowboys were expected to cast their minds back to their round four 21-20 extra-time loss to the Broncos in order to prepare for what is expected to be another tight derby.
Or dig up a video of last year’s epic golden point grand final win over Brisbane.
But Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott said they only had to view a replay of last round’s 15-14 defeat at the hands of Melbourne to be ready for their next blockbuster.
Scott said a star studded Storm provided a timely reminder of what was required if they were to regain bragging rights over the ladder leaders.
“We did learn a bit about how to play a big game of football (against Melbourne),” Scott said.
“They are very good at it and they have got guys who have been doing it for a long time.
“Melbourne is typically hard to score against – just like Brisbane.
“Melbourne frustrated us a bit.
“We went out of our patterns and tried to come up with some big plays and didn’t execute as well as we could have.”
Cowboys backrower and Queensland Origin hopeful Gavin Cooper summed it up more succinctly.
“In the clutch moments Melbourne stood up and we didn’t,” he said.
“We had our chances to put the game to bed and a couple of their guys came up with the big plays and that was pretty much the game.”
The Cowboys had their five game winning run snapped by the Storm.
After such an impressive run, Cooper admitted North Queensland could not afford to lose back-to-back matches ahead of the crunch Origin period.
“It is a big two points leading into this part of the year,” he said.
“Origin is always a tough time for the club.
“And being a derby, you don’t have any bigger incentive to play out of your skin.”
Asked if he thought their derby would be decided by a third straight golden point result, Scott said: “It is always a possibility, these games have tended to be very close.”
He added: “But a blow-out in our favour would be nice”.