Cowboys seek revenge against Sharks
For the third year running the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sharks will meet in a sudden-death Telstra Premiership final, with the two most recent premiership-winning teams both eager to go deeper into the play-offs.
The Sharks want to make it back-to-back premierships while the Cowboys have a vendetta, to prove that they're more than a one, or two, man band.
Despite a healthy finals rivalry having built up between the two sides in the last three years, Cowboys halfback Michael Morgan sees his side's home-ground defeat to the Sharks in Round 24 as more of a motivation than their 2016 elimination final loss.
"We know we can, we've shown that both games… I think the last game up here it was a game that we sort of let slip, it was just a 10 minute period where they really hurt us," Morgan said.
"They got a couple of quick tries, and simple tries as well, which was what was most disappointing about it.
"That night we were down a few more troops than we have been for the rest of the year, we'll take confidence out of that knowing that we did put in a good performance both times we played them, it's just doing it for a longer period.
"They are the premiers and they're never going to roll over and let you have an easy win and they certainly won't do it at this time of year."
If the Cowboys are to get over the Sharks in Sydney, both Morgan, and the other man who has stepped up for North Queensland this year, Jason Taumalolo, will need to excel.
Sharks skipper Paul Gallen will undoubtedly have his opposite number in his sights, but Taumalolo has nothing but respect for the premiership-winning captain.
"He's played in the NRL for a while now, nothing beats experience and they've definitely been in that situation before," Taumalolo said.
"Last year they played us in the finals and ended our campaign so I definitely think Gal's got the edge.
"Gal's dedicated himself to his craft for a while and that's what's made him one of the best players in the game, you can't take that away from him and he's been excellent this year for them too."
Although Gallen believes stopping Taumalolo is the key to stopping North Queensland, the man himself disagrees.
"I think he's been watching too many of my highlights I guess. We're not a single player team, we've got guys all over the park that are strike weapons for us and I'm hoping that all of us turn up on Sunday and fire," he said.