Milestone game, Thurston's farewell and more on the line for Cowboys
Cowboys coach Paul Green has delivered a stark reminder to his players they need to ensure they perform on Friday night or they will experience a hollow feeling when the full-time siren sounds in Johnathan Thurston's Townsville farewell.
"I said to the boys, 'imagine how you'd feel if we lost the game, you wouldn't feel like celebrating'."
There is not only Thurston's celebration on the line when North Queensland take on the Eels - they must win to all but shake off the wooden spoon to their opponents, and it's also Matt Scott's 250th game and Jake Granville's 100th match as a Cowboy.
Green is eager to celebrate the milestones of his players, but is confident they'll keep a lid on their excitement so they can get the job done on Friday night.
"It's similar in some respects to a big game, no doubt it's a huge occasion and it's probably a privilege to play in this game," Green said.
"It's about embracing it without letting it distract you.
"It's really important that we get our heads around what we need to, to get ourselves ready to play, the Eels have been in pretty good form recently… so any illusions about how the game is going to pan out, they need to get that out of their heads."
While his focus is on the game, Green was happy to acknowledge just how important Scott's contributions to the club have been.
"He's been a wonderful player for our club, he was co-captain when we won our first premierships, he's been here since school as a one-club player," he said.
"For anyone to play 250 games in the NRL is a fantastic achievement, it's not easy to do, and to do it at one club is another achievement in itself so there's motivation there enough to give those guys a memorable game so that when they look back in years to come they'll remember it for the right reasons."
Scott isn't too worried about his co-captain stealing his 250th limelight, and only wants to focus on dodging the wooden spoon against the Eels.
"I'm quite happy that I can slip under the radar, I don't ever like too much fuss or want too much fuss about me," Scott said.
"Personal milestones, they're great, but it should be about the team and performing on the night and for a player of JT's calibre and to have him at the club we're extremely blessed to have him play for us.
"To celebrate his last home game where he's done so much and played such a big part in the club I'm happy just to support him for the night."