He might be departing at season’s end, but North Queensland Cowboys coach Neil Henry believes that with the form his side is currently in, they can beat any side in the top 8 – they just have to somehow get into the top 8 to do so.
With a faint chance of making the finals, the Cowboys cruised to victory and took the game out 36-4, with a mathematical chance of qualifying for the finals still alive.
Now just 4 points behind Canberra in eighth place, the Cowboys have three of their last four games at home, something that will give them a boost and a chance to push hard for that final spot.
There was just no stopping the Cowboys, as influential half Johnathan Thurston had a hand in five of his side’s tries, as hooker Ray Thompson scored a rare hat-trick over the course of 11 minutes.
With two big wins on the trot, Henry knows there is still a lot of hard work for his side to be done.
“There’s a lot of hard work to do. We’ve got to win every game,” Henry said.
“We’ll roll up our sleeves and go for 80 minutes each week and see where it takes us.
“We’ve got some resolve to say `it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, if we play our best football we can beat any team in the competition’.”
The Panthers were boosted at the start of the game with two players returning from long-term injuries, Lachlan Coote and Sam McKendry, but that was ultimately not enough.
With a four-game losing streak, the Panthers remain rooted on 20 competition points, as coach Ivan Cleary admits his side just did not have it today and could not find their mojo.
“It just wasn’t to be … maybe the mojo, we just didn’t have it tonight,” Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said.
“There were periods in the game where we were well in it but we just couldn’t capitalise and in the end it just took its toll on our belief.”
3. Ray Thompson
2. Johnathan Thurston
1. James Tamou