Cowboys rest up after Broncos thriller
Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston says last week's taxing semi-final against Brisbane was "one of the toughest games" in his career, and has spoken of the stomach bug that had him physically worn out before the game even started.
While after the game coach Paul Green had labelled Thurston "not 100 per cent", reports later emerged of the star playmaker losing upward of four kilograms prior to kick-off.
Cowboys coaching staff have put a premium on physical recovery this week after 90 of the toughest minutes the NRL has seen, and Thurston said the weekend off was a much-needed break.
"I'm feeling heaps better than what I was yesterday so hopefully it's all gone now and hopefully I don't pass it on to the kids," Thurston said.
"It's taken an extra couple of days to recover from it, things are looking up for myself. They gave us the weekend off pretty much so I'm feeling good.
"It was one of the toughest games I've been a part of, simply due to the fact that I wasn't at 100 per cent, so it's hard to stay in the moment when you're feeling like that.
"But when you look beside you and see the rest of the boys busting their guts, you don't want to be the one who's letting anyone down. They get me through it.
"I got a couple of jabs in the bottom. It certainly helped settle the guts down."
Recovery will be a prevailing theme throughout the week, with the team conducting two lower-intensity training sessions before Friday's game.
Enforcer Jason Taumalolo is another player thankful for the extended rest periods after putting in 76 potentially career-best minutes against the Broncos last week.
"Earlier in the season we wouldn't have gotten that day off. We would've come in and done a bit of weights, but obviously given that it's finals footy it's good that the guys got the day off," Taumalolo said.
"The body's not too bad, still a bit sore from [last] Friday night's game and slowly peaking toward [this coming] Friday.
"Recovery is key this week for me and hopefully my body pulls up right for Friday night."
While his players undoubtedly need the rest coach Paul Green is wary of too much emphasis on recovery, stressing the importance of pre-game practice runs despite the Cowboys having fine-tuned their football over the previous seven months of the season.
"It's always a big deal. How you train is how you play. You can't go too long without putting that good prep in the bank."