SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys is tackled during the round 21 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the North Queensland Cowboys at Allianz Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys is tackled during the round 21 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the North Queensland Cowboys at Allianz Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Derby battle motivation enough as Cowboys spoon odds shorten

FORGET the threat of the wooden spoon.

Sending Johnathan Thurston off with one last win over the Broncos, and damaging the title hopes of their biggest rivals, is motivation enough for the Cowboys to lift in Thursday's Queensland derby in Townsville.

The golden point field goal which sunk Brisbane in golden point of the 2015 grand final is Thurston's signature moment at club level.

He delivered arguably his best game of the season in Saturday's 26-20 loss to the Roosters in Sydney, falling just short of helping drag his team back from a 26-8 deficit.

Fittingly, he surpassed Andrew Johns into third on the all-time pointscorer's list with a signature 'show-and-go' try.

The Cowboys 2018 demise began when a goalpost denied prop Scott Bolton a matchwinning try at Brisbane in round two.

The Broncos have plunged to seventh after a shock loss to Canterbury on Thursday, and the Cowboys would love nothing more than to turn the screws.

Parramatta's win over the Gold Coast drew them level with the Cowboys at the foot of the ladder, with the Eels still bottom with a slightly inferior points difference.

 

Paul Green says the Cowboys will lift for their derby with Brisbane. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Paul Green says the Cowboys will lift for their derby with Brisbane. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

Manly's upset of Cronulla yesterday only shortened the Cowboys wooden spoon odds.

"Johnno's last game will be trotted out a fair bit over the next month, but this one against the Broncs particularly, we've had some huge encounters against them in the past," Green said.

"We generally get up for those games, it's always been a pretty tight one. It went down to the wire earlier in the year, we got beaten by a goalpost really."

Green insisted the five day turnaround, compared to Brisbane's full week rest, won't be an issue as they look to take another step toward avoiding the indignity of finishing with the spoon in Thurston's final season.

"We haven't had one (five day turnaround) for a while and generally we go pretty well with them," Green said.

"You don't really have enough time to do too much, it's more about recovery and knowing what's coming at you next week."

The Broncos will be without Maroons forward Josh McGuire after he was cited for pulling the hair of Bulldog Adam Elliott.

The Cowboys expect Shaun Fensom to be sidelined after he failed a concussion test on Saturday night, with the five day turnaround not long enough under NRL guidelines to play.

It remains unclear whether Bolton will play, given he is scheduled to answer indecent assault charges stemming from an alleged May incident at a Bondi pub on Wednesday.

 

SPOON WATCH

Parramatta (16th, 12 points, -124): Dragons (h), Storm (a), Cowboys (a), Roosters (h)

Cowboys (15th, 12 points, -106): Broncos (h), Sharks (a), Eels (h), Titans (a)

Sea Eagles (14th, 14 points, -92): Bulldogs (h), Titans (h), Tigers (a), Broncos (a)

Bulldogs: (13th, 14 points, -61): Sea Eagles (a), Warriors (h), Dragons (a), Sharks (h)



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