Cowboys to revel in a night to remember
Cowboys coach Paul Green will give his players the moment to revel in their new title as world club champions before getting back to the business of defending their Telstra Premiership crown when they land back in Townsville later this week.
The Cowboys extended the run of NRL champion teams in the World Club Challenge to seven wins from the past eight games, overpowering Leeds Rhinos with 34 unanswered points in the second half to win 38-4 at Headingley Stadium in Leeds.
Following the Auckland Nines triumph of 2014 and last year's heart-stopping win over the Cowboys to claim the club's maiden NRL premiership, the World Club Challenge marked the third significant trophy in three years for Green who said his team's title defence can wait until they return to Australia.
"It's important that we enjoy the moment because by the time we land back everyone will have their head around what's happening in the NRL," said Green in the post-match press conference.
"We want to enjoy tonight's win but we've got to pretty quickly get back to the grindstone and get some work in and start getting ready for the Sharks in two weeks.
"Tonight was about winning a championship and we got the job done from that respect. We'll have a look at the video after tonight and start getting our head around the NRL season, we just want to enjoy the moment for now.
"In terms of the club and its history it's a proud moment for the club. We won our first NRL premiership last year and you've got to do that to get this opportunity.
"We spoke about that through the week and I thought the boys made the most of their opportunity.
"It will go down as a proud moment in our club's history."
With an expansive style of game the Super League champions did their best to upset the rhythm of the Cowboys but were unable to maintain the intensity after half-time and saw the 4-all scoreline quickly get away from them.
Although Mitch Garbutt came in for criticism for taking physicality beyond what is considered acceptable in the modern game with a punch on James Tamou nine minutes from full-time, Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said his team failed to match the power of the North Queensland forwards.
"I thought the physicality took its toll during that game. When their big fellas carried the ball up the middle of the field and they backed themselves, I didn't think we matched them physically," a dejected McDermott said.
"We've been involved in a couple of these games in the past and probably been unlocked by some really smart football or a really smart shape or a passage of play but I didn't think that was the case.
"I thought we did a good job of defending them for the majority of the game but physically we just started to drop off."
The Cowboys' big win made it a whitewash of lopsided scorelines for the NRL teams in the World Club Series but Green urged for the concept to remain and for the respective champions to continue to face off.
"I hope they don't look at the three games and don't see value in it," said Green.
"It offers up some challenges for us obviously having to travel so far and so close to the start of the NRL season but if you approach it the right way it can have a lot of positive effect.
"The result obviously helps in that respect but we were looking forward to this week.
"It was a time to spend some good quality time together as a group, we've certainly enjoyed the week and topped off by the result tonight."