After 320 days, 18 NRL games – including a heartbreaking elimination final loss and ‘that’ seventh-tackle try, sandwiching a maiden piece of silverware in the inaugural Auckland Nines back in February – the North Queensland Cowboys finally have another NRL win away from Townsville.
And while they may not have had the exact numbers to hand, the players and coach were more than aware of the streak after their 36-18 win over Cronulla at Remondis Stadium on Friday night, as well as the significance of having broken it.
“It was good to get the monkey off the back. You blokes will stop asking me about it now, hopefully for a while at least!” coach Paul Green laughed after the game.
“But [I’m] really pleased with the result. We can be a little bit better in some areas but all in all, yeah, happy.”
Cowboys utility Ray Thompson told NRL.com the win would definitely provide a psychological boost heading into next week’s even tougher away match against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
“Any win away is always good but obviously we haven't got a great record, so to get the monkey off the back is awesome – but the next challenge is to build on that,” Thompson said.
“The last couple of rounds we've got some really tough games away from home, we just need to move on and keep the momentum going.”
He said even if a side is winning almost every game at home – as they Cowboys have been – it still makes it very hard to earn a spot in the finals without some away wins.
“For us, if we want to play finals footy and be competitive and give it a real shake we have to start winning away from home,” he said.
In-form Cowboys fullback Michael Morgan – who scored one try and set up another in the win – said while he is happy with his own form, the main thing to come from the game is the win away from home.
“It's obviously been talked about a lot but it was good to get the monkey off our back,” Morgan told NRL.com.
“Even if we do scrape in [to the top eight] the finals are going to be away from home. It's a good stepping stone for us.”