Former North Queensland fullback Tim Brasher believes Cronulla have made a huge error by saying they will target current Cowboys No.1 Lachlan Coote.
The Sharks earlier vowed to test Coote in Friday night’s NRL preliminary final at Allianz Stadium after the North Queensland custodian’s error-riddled display last Friday night against Brisbane.
Brasher admitted Coote almost cost North Queensland their title defence in their elimination semi-final.
Despite his errors the Cowboys rallied to oust the Broncos 26-20 in extra time and Brasher doesn’t expect Coote will repeat the display in the grand final qualifier.
“It’s like waving a red rag to a bull,” Brasher told AAP.
“The Sharkies are really stoking the fire.
“Saying they will target him, I think you will find he will bounce back and prove he is the class player we all know he is.”
Coote made four handling errors against Brisbane, including a horror spilt kick that allowed Jordan Kahu to score and give the Broncos a 14-6 halftime lead.
“Obviously last week he had a game he wanted to forget – it was very unlike him,” said Balmain great Brasher, who finished his career at North Queensland from 2000-02.
“But I don’t care who it is, everyone makes mistakes.
“Billy Slater is probably the best fullback in the modern era and he made one of the biggest mistakes, that lost us a World Cup final (in 2008).
“We all make them, it’s how you bounce back and I think Coote’s class will shine through.”
Brasher was already convinced Coote should be NSW State of Origin fullback next year ahead of incumbent James Tedesco, and the man Tedesco replaced this series, Penrith’s Matt Moylan.
“Before Origin this year I was backing Lachlan over Matt Moylan,” he said.
“He’s got a great kicking game that takes the pressure off (Johnathan) Thurston and his positional play is the best of all the fullbacks.
“He reads the game better than most.
“Coote is a fullback who turns up at the right spot at the right time.”
Brasher believes Cronulla should be concerned that North Queensland still found a way to win against Brisbane despite Coote’s shocker.
“His crucial mistakes there could have cost them the game, but they got over it,” he said.
“When someone is not having a great day they all rallied around him and still got the win.”