Cowboys out to repay milestone men
The North Queensland Cowboys are preparing to make captain Johnathan Thurston's 300th NRL game – and Gavin Cooper's 250th – a happy night, but will need to put in the extra effort to help their fatigued State of Origin teammates over the line.
The Cowboys have four representatives in action for Queensland on Wednesday night including new inclusions Cooper and Coen Hess, who are expected up against the Penrith Panthers on Saturday afternoon.
Cooper regularly plays 80 minutes outside Thurston, and will likely do the same at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night, while Hess will come off the bench in his Origin debut.
Fullback Lachlan Coote knows that the Cowboys will need to get the small efforts right against the Panthers on Saturday and relieve the pressure on Thurston and five-eighth Michael Morgan to help their fatigued Origin stars.
"I think it's just known, the less pressure [Thurston and Morgan] are under the better they play, it's like anyone. The more we can do in the team and take that leadership on the more they can step in and do their role," Coote said.
"[I'm] trying to take as much pressure off 'Johnno' and 'Morgo' as I can. Obviously coming off the back of a big Origin game, I want to keep my role in the team as I have been over this Origin period and keep leading the team."
Coote will come up against his former club and former Cowboys teammate James Tamou, and is looking forward to playing a Penrith side that's beginning to realise its potential.
"I like coming up against Penrith, it's always good to come up against your old club," he said
"It will be a good hit-out, they're starting to play some good footy, they're starting to find their straps and they're looking good at the moment.
"[Matt Moylan] is classy with the ball in his hands and I think the more he gets the ball in his hand the better they look, I think it was a good move for him."