Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston.

Thurston providing all the motivation Cowboys need

With the finals now an unreachable goal for the Cowboys, the players are looking to send Johnathan Thurston out on a positive note as his career comes to an end in 2018.

Five-eighth Te Maire Martin summed it eloquently, highlighting the culture of success and competitiveness that Thurston helped develop at North Queensland over the past 14 seasons.

"[A big motivation is] having the pride in the jersey and in the club and our players. I know JT doesn't like to talk about it, but doing it for him especially at the back end of the year," Martin said of his team's motivation.

"He's put so much work into the club, so much heart and a lot of the stuff that the club is now is because of him, so just to try and do a bit for JT would mean a lot."

Coen Hess had a similar response when asked what the motivation for the remainder of 2018 was, highlighting Thurston's significance at the club.

"I think we just need to send Johnno out the right way, he's obviously been the forefront of our club for 10-odd years and this year has been pretty disappointing," Hess said.

"As a playing group we have been taking it a bit personally that we're not playing up to the standards that he's set for a very long time."

"If we can get a few wins and make these last two months or so enjoyable for him that's probably a really good thing."

Hooker Jake Granville was disappointed with last week's performance against the Raiders, and believes they can do better against the Dragons despite St George Illawarra's lofty position on the ladder.

"It's pretty sad how we finished the game last week, it wasn't us and we're looking to bounce back this week," Granville said.

"[Thurston] has done so much for this club, to finish how we did last weekend it's a bit sad and I'd like the team to have a go for him as well as for each other."