Cowboys' NRL outlook gets brighter - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys' NRL outlook gets brighter

Liam Butterworth 15/05/2011 01:34:05 PM Comments (0)

Everything keeps falling into place for North Queensland and their coach Neil Henry in the 2011 NRL season.

Having scored 30 points in the last 20 minutes to pull off a sensational 40-26 comeback win over hapless Parramatta at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night, the Cowboys now look forward to a bye next weekend and the luxury of pondering Origin selections.

Sitting pretty with seven wins from their opening 10 matches, the Cowboys have made their best start to the competition in years just nine months after helping to prop up the 2010 ladder.

"I think we're due for a bye," said a satisfied Henry. "We're a bit banged up and we've had a few physical games.

"Some boys will get a rest and some will be off to an Origin camp.

To be seven and three going into the bye is a great start to the year for the club."

Co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott are certain selections in the Maroons team and Henry said selectors wouldn't go wrong also picking Willie Tonga and veteran warhorse Dallas Johnson.

Tonga is a good chance following an injury to Justin Hodges and doubts over Greg Inglis' fitness.

Henry said Tonga had played his best football of the season against Parramatta and would warrant a spot in Mal Meninga's squad.

"I think he's in good form. In fact, I think attacking-wise, it's the best he's been running for a while and the most dominating he's been for a while," he said.

Henry also expected Johnson to be in the mix for a return to Origin duty but said eventually it would come down to injuries.

"I think the key will be how Ashley Harrison is. Mal's very loyal to his players. They have played together before, Dallas and Ashley in the same forward pack, but we'll just have to see how they pan out with injuries."

Co-captain Scott also put his faith in fellow forward Johnson to perform for Queensland if selected.

"It's pretty hard to force your way back into a side that's been winning but obviously there's a few injuries there and Dal (Johnson) will be great back in the Maroon jersey," Scott said.

A shaken Parramatta now have an ugly 3-6 record under new coach Steve Kearney who said conceding 30 points in the last 20 minutes to the Cowboys was simply not acceptable.

"Maybe we thought we were comfortable but when you've got the likes of Thurston .... they're going to terrorise you for 80 minutes and not put the cue in the rack, but I'm not even too sure if we were thinking that way," Kearney said.

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