Ladder Position: 2nd
State of Play
Tautau Moga (ACL, Season)
Robert Lui (Hamstring, Round 15)
Scott Bolton (Hand, Round 17)
Season to Date
After a poor start to the 2015 season, the North Queensland Cowboys looked to be in for another season of disappointment, as their “premiership window” is closing significantly with each year that passes for 32 year old maestro Jonathan Thurston. That was until some JT magic guided them to their first victory for the season against the Storm in Round 4, as the Australian halfback kicked two field goals. Ever since then, the Cowboys have seemingly forgotten how to lose, as they are currently on an incredible 10 game winning streak. Paul Green’s side has an amazing ability to play for each other and to never give up, as was seen when the Cowboys managed to miraculously score 5 tries in 12 minutes to defeat the Parramatta Eels 36-30, despite trailing by 24 points with only 28 minutes remaining in the match. As usual, Thurston has been terrific for the Cowboys this year, however its the new look spine that has the North Queensland side poised to win their first ever premiership. Michael Morgan has been the perfect partner for JT at five-eight, and his terrific form has seen him rewarded with a position in the Queensland Origin side. The addition of the dynamic Jake Granville at hooker has provided the Cowboys with a much needed spark out of dummy-half, and Lachlan Coote has been in great form at fullback for his first season in Cowboys colours. Add in State of Origin front rowers Matt Scott and James Tamou, and a backrow consisting of the barnstorming duo Jason Taumalolo and Gavin Cooper, and the Cowboys look to have all the ingredients for a red hot shot at premiership glory.
In the case of the Cowboys, making the finals is almost inevitable, however the real challenge for the North Queensland side in recent years is getting to the premiership decider. For the past three seasons, a combination of shocking refereeing and bad luck has resulted in them being eliminated from the finals. It is up to the Cowboys playing ability to ensure that no results can be hindered this year, and if they are able to do that, North Queensland are a genuine chance of being the 2015 NRL premiers.