North Queensland has made many pre-season predictions foolish so far this year – and while not testing more than what they face this week, they have yet to show that they are ready for the challenge.
Behind a tough mix of veterans and young guns, the Cowboys sit on the stairs in equal-seconds after hitting the Melbourne Storm last week.
Now, they will face the premieres in Penrith on Friday night – where we will learn more about the credibility of their titles.
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NSW coach Brad Fitler says the Cowboys are competing for the “good and true” premiership.
“They’ve got halfbacks who have won the competition, they have the front row who have won the competition, those who have been there – then you have all these young blocks,” Fitler told Wide World of Sports. Freddie and VIII.
“These young blokes are flying right now.”
It will not only wait for the defending premieres, but also their first trip to Sydney all year – and they will make it without the likes of Jason Toumalolo and Kyle Feld.
“We’ll get a really good lesson there,” Andrew Johns said of their aspirations for the Premiership.
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It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why the Cowboys were so good compared to 2021 – but Todd Petten seems to have settled on a backline featuring Scott Drinkwater in the No. 1 jersey and the points have flowed as a result.
Their defenses have improved. Their young forwards, especially Jeremiah Nanai, are having a hard time.
But young talents across the park are helping to get the job done.
Johns added, “They have a harvest coming up.”
“What they are doing there with their junior system and the way they are identifying them and the way they are coaching them – is very impressive.”
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