Rauhihi 80-20 chance to play - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rauhihi 80-20 chance to play

By Laine Clark 09/09/2004 09:40:50 PM Comments (0)

It was hard to believe that the North Queensland Cowboys were the subject of an unprecedented ground swell of support judging by their low-key arrival in Sydney for their historic NRL finals campaign.

And the Cowboys wouldn't have it any other way.

North Queensland has embraced a "softly, softly" approach to its finals debut against the Bulldogs on Saturday night as it nurses 2004 Prop of the Year Paul Rauhihi (calf) back to full fitness.

Hundreds of school children lined streets with banners as the team bus made its way to Townsville airport where hundreds more Cowboys faithfuls congregated to farewell the finals debutants.

Only hours later the Cowboys were greeted in Sydney by only a handful of journalists, with only cursory glances from the public.

However, the "welcome" suited the weary Cowboys just fine after being engulfed in a media frenzy since securing their very first finals berth.

The Cowboys will bunker down at Coogee for the next few days in a bid to collect their thoughts and nurture inspirational prop Rauhihi, who was rated an "80-20 chance" of playing.

While some players were "close to tears" by the emotional Townsville send-off, Cowboys and former Test winger Matt Sing said it was time the team cleared its head for the business at hand.

"It's good to get down here a bit early to prepare, get the flight out of the way and get our minds ready for the weekend," he said.

Rauhihi missed last week's win over Cronulla but is expected to chime into the front row with 2004 sensation, 22-year-old prop Shane Tronc.

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