Gower 'going for broke' against Cowboys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gower 'going for broke' against Cowboys

By Zane Bojack 11/05/2007 07:19:38 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland coach Graham Murray says he's wary of Penrith halfback Craig Gower producing a big NRL display in a last-ditch bid to regain the NSW No.7 jersey at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.

Gower has the ultimate opportunity to secure the Origin halfback job - in front of Blues coach Murray and against superstar Queensland No.7 Johnathan Thurston.

"I don't think he has been in great form early in the season but he can snap out of that pretty quickly and for the Cowboys we don't want him to do that," Murray said.

"I know what type of guy he is, he is a competitive player, he's very important to what they do and we will have to be on our game."

Thurston believes Gower and fullback Rhys Wesser hold the keys to the Panthers snapping their five-game losing streak and is worried they may start with a stunner in Townsville.

"The Panthers have lost five in a row so they will be very desperate for a win," Thurston said.

"They will be putting their hands up for Origin, especially Gower, so hopefully we can stop them."

The Cowboys have plenty to play for, but possibly the greatest motivation could be the calming of nerves as Origin approaches.

Many have questioned whether representative football will once again cause havoc for the Townsville-based club following last season's dramatic fade out.

The toll of providing the NSW coach, Queensland assistant and several players to both sides was too much for the Cowboys after entering last year's series riding high.

Murray is aware that securing another two points against the poorly-performing Panthers is critical to the Cowboys' premiership campaign.

"The two points are the same every week, but they are on offer and that is the way we are looking at it and are aiming for three in a row," Murray said.

"We won our last two and are playing pretty good and hopefully we can do it in front of our home crowd."

The Cowboys' task has been made harder with injuries forcing lock Justin Smith and centre Mark Henry to the sidelines.

But Murray believes his side can cope with a few positional changes and has faith in his replacements.

"Scott Bolton and Ash Graham will come in and both of them have played first grade this year and have been part of a successful team, so it is a pretty good mix," he said.

"Scott will start on the bench so Sione Faumuina will start and it is good that Sione has got a start in a game for the first time in a while."

Meanwhile, Thurston said electrifying fullback Matt Bowen could not do any more to push his case for selection in the Maroons side.

"I don't think there is much more he can do," he said.

"He has answered his critics in defence and has been on fire with the ball and has given himself every possible opportunity to be selected."

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