Cowboys bond before rare NRL final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys bond before rare NRL final

By Laine Clark 06/09/2011 06:09:49 PM Comments (0)

In what must sound alarms bells for Manly, the Cowboys' Queensland guns Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott hope a Sydney team camp ahead of Saturday night's NRL finals clash gets them into "Origin mode".

Desperate to keep a rare NRL finals campaign alive, the out of sorts Cowboys aim to create the same State of Origin camp mentality that has helped Queensland seal six straight series wins.

Scott and coach Neil Henry admitted the Cowboys were already at an advantage after the NRL opted to switch Manly's home final from the feared Brookvale Oval to the neutral Sydney Football Stadium.

But co-captains Scott and Thurston hoped the key to a weekend boilover would be team bonding created at the camp.

"It's like getting into Origin mode," Scott said before the Cowboys flew into Sydney on Tuesday.

"We train together, stay together. Everything is about Saturday night.

"It will be a good way to go about it, especially for those guys who haven't played finals footy before."

The Cowboys are keen to regroup after losing four of their last five games.

Asked if he wanted to create an Origin camp atmosphere, Thurston said: "That's the idea.

"We will bunker down and prepare the best we can.

"There's no second chances for us so everything's on the line on Saturday night."

The Cowboys adore their fanatical fans come finals time - well, those players who can remember the last time they made the top eight.

Their last finals campaign was way back in 2007.

But Henry believed it would be an advantage to base themselves away from the hype at home despite comparing their latest finals campaign with 2004.

In that year, their fans helped playoff debutants North Queensland move to within a win of the grand final.

The decision to relocate to Sydney this week was all but made for them with Cowboys players required at Monday's captain's call and Tuesday night's Dally M Medals presentation.

"There's some similarities there (with 2004)," Henry said.

"We have been there before in 2005 and 2007 but it's been a drought since then.

"It's a funny feeling when you have finished up and there is still another month of footy.

"But this time we are in it, and we aim to stay there a few more weeks yet.

"If we can get a win and bring the game back home that would be fantastic for this region."

Thurston said a finals taste should also help remedy their poor form.

"It's been difficult the last couple of weeks," he said.

"I know I haven't been happy with my own form.

"But there's no bigger stage than semi-finals.

"We haven't played it for a few years so we are excited to be a part of it."

Dallas Johnson was on Tuesday named to return after missing last weekend's loss to the Warriors with concussion.

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