Final word: Cowboys v Broncos
Cowboys coach Paul Green
OK with ladder position
Coming in to 2014 with mammoth expectations that are now par for the course up north, the Cowboys again suffered from early-season struggles. Things came together mid-season and they shot up the ladder to finish fifth. While there were games they probably should not have lost, Green was content with where his side finished after 26 rounds.
"We probably dropped games we should have won earlier on in the year, so where we finished is where we finished. I would've liked to have finished higher but it's where we finished, so we just have to deal with it.
"Probably every team has got the hard luck stories about games they should have won so I'm happy with where we've finished."
Biggest game of Green’s coaching career
While Green has big-game experience as a player and an assistant coach under Roosters coach Trent Robinson last year and two years of head coaching experience at Intrust Super Cup level prior, the level of expectation on the 42 year-old – his birthday was the eve of game day – has reached another level this time around.
"Probably a little bit nervous, a little bit tense just like everyone else. But that’s part of the big game experience. A little bit more on the line for everyone involved and it's exciting to be playing footy at this time of year.
"I've been involved in big games over the years and it's important you keep your emotions in check and you need to have a clear head and think straight, but by the same time we need to embrace that big game atmosphere as well, so that's part of the build-up which I'm looking forward to."
Big raps on Jordan Kahu
There is a strong Wynnum Manly connection between Green and late Broncos call-up Kahu, with Green expecting the youngster to not miss a beat in the absence of Jack Reed, saying he and fellow Brisbane centre Dale Copley possess few weaknesses.
"If anything, Jordan Kahu hasn't had a lot of NRL experience but he's certainly a talented player. He's been playing really good in the Intrust Super Cup with Wynnum Manly and Dale Copley is a fantastic player. They've been a different team since they've moved him to the centres and he’s a real attacking weapon for them."
Broncos coach Anthony Griffin
Inclusion of Jordan Kahu in the centres
Although Corey Oates was named as the injured Jack Reed's replacement on Tuesday, Griffin revealed that there will be a significant change, with Jordan Kahu to be elevated into the team for the Elimination Final.
"He's the best option. He's done a good job for us in the centres and on the wing every time he's got he's opportunity over the last couple of years. We'll put him out there and put Corey Oates back to the bench.
"He's a natural outside back. Corey [Oates] can do a job for us there as he has done in the past and adds some value coming off the bench and in the forwards.
"Jordan's a real classy guy. He's not a rookie – he's played first grade over the past couple of years and he'll do a good job."
No luck in finishing eighth
Brisbane's season could’ve been a hell of lot different had they been able to close out the five games they were leading heading into the final 10 minutes. The Broncos have had their fair share of bad luck this season and would have comfortably finished inside the top four had they won even three out of those five games.
"Everyone's going on about how lucky we are [to finish eighth]. We've been very unlucky for most of the season and you don’t end up playing this game tomorrow night because you're lucky.
"[The season] went for 24 [games] and we ended up with eighth spot and that's all that matters.
"There's no smoke and mirrors – you're not [in the finals] unless you've earned your spot. We've been consistent all year and if anything we've beaten ourselves consistently as well."
Getting off to a good start crucial
If there's one area the Cowboys have a distinct advantage over the Broncos it's in their superior starts to games. Brisbane trailed 14-0 at half-time when they last clashed with the Cowboys in Townsville back in Round 9 and can ill-afford another slow start on Saturday night.
"They are really fast starters the Cowboys. They can jump you if you're not ready and obviously starting well is something we need to do."