Fit-again Cowboys to lift against Sharks
North Queensland Cowboys players Lachlan Coote and Jake Granville are confident their side can put in another strong performance against the Cronulla Sharks on Thursday night, as the competition heads into the taxing Holden State of Origin period.
They'll need to lift another gear if they are to beat the reigning premiers in Sydney, but Coote and Granville are confident the team can do it given their performance against the Canterbury Bulldogs in Round 10.
Coote chimed in as an extra option in attack and as a kicker, while also providing good communication in defence. Granville provided plenty of energy and in attack and defence he tied the Cowboys' forwards together, giving them good go-forward while cleaning up in the middle when Paul Green's side were defending.
As the two players likely to be left in the spine during the Origin period, Coote and Granville will need to continue to perform like they did on Thursday night.
According to the premiership-winning fullback, their intent throughout the week was to nail the simple aspects of their own game, while bringing urgency to their teammates.
"I think we needed a lot of energy, I think we were lacking that in the previous weeks and just trying to get the boys up-beat and going down to Sydney where we're not going to get much from their crowd… so I was trying to bring some energy to the boys," Coote said.
"Being in that fullback role… the boys need that bit of leadership from the back and that direction as well and that's what I was trying to bring to the team."
The result on Thursday spoke for Coote's effort, with Michael Morgan in particular having his best game of the season. Coote will need to do it all again against the Sharks with the premiers sitting in second place, hardly missing a beat from their victorious 2016 season.
"They're obviously a quality team and they're playing some good footy at the moment, but we've just got to go down there and worry about our own game and where we're at."
Jake Granville made up the other half of the difference against the Bulldogs on Thursday night, with the hooker providing good, flat passes to his forwards to bend the Bulldogs' line back, while contributing 20 tackles in defence, with only one miss.
"When you don't play for a while you're itching to get out there and if you can bring a bit of energy back and influence some guys, yeah that was one of the main things I wanted to do," Granville said.
Granville is under no illusions that the Sharks will be a tougher challenge than the Bulldogs, but is confident that the Cowboys can leave Sydney for the second straight week with the two competition points.
"It's good to do it one week, but it's even harder to back it up the next week so we'll be looking for that consistency there and I'm sure the boys will be keen to do that," he said.
"They're a quality team, like they've shown to start this year, so we're going to have to play really well to aim up against those guys. They’ve got a quality forward pack… and they do have some good outside backs which can burn you."