Cowboys confident another epic awaits
COWBOYS coach Paul Green insists Thursday night's derby against the Broncos won't be a fizzer as North Queensland fights to avoid the wooden spoon.
The latest instalment of the hugely popular Queensland derby is lacking its usual hype with the Cowboys sitting 15th on the ladder and Brisbane hovering in seventh.
The past eight clashes between the Queensland rivals have been hotly contested affairs dating back to the 2015 finals series.
Four of those games have gone into extra-time and four have been one-point margins with the ledger split at four wins apiece.
While the Broncos are in finals contention, North Queensland has had a season to forget and is now in grave danger of collecting a dreaded wooden spoon.
The Cowboys showed signs of life in a 26-20 loss to the Roosters on Saturday night and Green was adamant they would rise for the Broncos at 1300SMILES Stadium.
"We generally get up for those games," he said.
"The Broncos games have always been pretty tight ones.
"It went down to the wire earlier in the year. It was only a four-point ball game and we got beaten by a goal-post really.
"Hopefully it will be a big crowd and I expect us to be able to get up for it."
The Broncos and Cowboys fought out another epic derby in Round 2 this year at Suncorp Stadium.
North Queensland looked to have snatched a dramatic victory in the final stages only for prop Scott Bolton to charge into a goal-post and miss scoring what would have been the match-winning try.
The epic rivalry kicked off in week one of the 2015 finals before the Cowboys beat Brisbane in the legendary extra-time grand final where Johnathan Thurston delivered North Queensland its first NRL title with a golden point field goal.
Thurston was inspirational in North Queensland's fightback from a 26-8 deficit against the Roosters as the Cowboys produced near perfect ball-handling, completing 33 of 34 sets, and will face the Broncos for the last time.
"We showed a bit of character to get back in the game, but like the rest of our season it was a little bit too late," Thurston said.
"We lost some momentum after halftime and didn't defend very well."
The Roosters contest was one of North Queensland's best games of the season, but they have still struggled to put together a complete performance.
The shackles will be off for the Queensland derby and Green said the Cowboys had to piece everything together to put a dent in Brisbane's finals campaign.
"There has been plenty of games like that throughout the year," he said.
"We just can't seem to put our good defensive and attack games together. That's how it's been all year.
"It's frustrating because we know it's there and disappointing also."