Maroons' perfect preparation
The Cowboys' Maroons contingent will have one thing in mind come Game Two of Holden State of Origin at Suncorp Stadium – revenge.
North Queensland's Origin players will be out to redeem themselves following their fifth loss of the season.
The Cowboys were defeated 13-10 by Cronulla-Sutherland on Monday night in what was the Sharks' 10th win in a row.
But what hurt the Cowboys the most was the fact that the Sharks' side featured four current New South Wales Blues – James Maloney, Wade Graham, Andrew Fifita and captain Paul Gallen.
The physical encounter was an Origin like battle and worked as great preparation for the representative stars on either side ahead of the real thing.
The Cowboys had five Queensland representatives in the encounter and none worked harder than veteran prop Matt Scott.
Scott put in a typically gritty performance to run for 140m off 15 carries, but it was not enough as uncharacteristic errors from North Queensland prevented them from getting the win.
The Maroons forward says the loss gives he and his Cowboys teammates the ultimate motivation heading into Game Two.
"I think it was the perfect stepping stone into Origin," Scott said.
"It was a physically tough game and they're the games you like to test yourself in.
"I think the Cowboys' contingent of Maroons will be very hungry to get back out there and get some success on the board.
"It was probably really good timing for us in a sense."
Game Two will be played at a ground where these North Queensland stars have struggled for success of late.
The Cowboys have lost their past five matches at Lang Park, and North Queensland players are used to being public enemy number one at the venue because of the dramatic recent history between North Queensland and the Brisbane Broncos.
However, this doesn't faze Scott, and the 30-year-old Queensland veteran says he is excited to run out onto Suncorp Stadium to cheers rather than the usual boos.
"It's a lot better playing there in the Queensland jersey than it is when I'm wearing a Cowboys one," he said.
"Obviously I love it. It's a great stadium to play at and I think if you asked the Blues the same question they'd say the same thing.
"It's a great rugby league stadium and the crowd is always full. They are always loud and it's just a great atmosphere.
"I'm really looking forward to running out there on Wednesday."