GLORY DAY: Cowboys coach Paul Green and Johnathan Thurston celebrate after the 2015 grand final win.
GLORY DAY: Cowboys coach Paul Green and Johnathan Thurston celebrate after the 2015 grand final win. Brett Costello

Cowboys believe they have found winning formula

THE Cowboys believe their stunning 2015 grand final triumph could hold the formula to creating another piece of history in Sunday's NRL decider against the Melbourne Storm.

North Queensland will be rank outsiders as just the second team in the NRL era to make the grand final from eighth while no side has won the premiership from outside the top four.

It will take a special performance to defy that history against the all-conquering Storm, who finished six points clear in the minor premiership race, but the Cowboys are no rookies.

Twelve of the 13 players in North Queensland's starting side also featured in the club's historic maiden premiership in 2015 when they bested the Brisbane Broncos in golden point.

Utility Ben Hampton also played in last year's decider with the Storm and coach Paul Green was confident the Cowboys know how to handle the pressure and expectation of grand final week.

"I think we got in right in '15," Green said.

"It's not a normal week so you've got to enjoy that, but you can't let it distract you from what's most important and that's getting ourselves ready for a game of footy on Sunday.

"The boys did a really good job at getting that balance right between enjoying the moment and enjoying the week and then also making sure we train well.

"It's good having those guys around in the group. They can give some good tips to some of the younger guys who haven't been through it."

Ethan Lowe was part of North Queensland's premiership team and he felt there was no substitute for experience to combat the overwhelming hype before they even take the field.

"We're trying to slowly build into it. We don't want to play the game too early or that kind of thing," the backrower said.

"We're going to have a couple of light days before flying down to Sydney and then we'll ramp up from there to get ready for the final.

"Most of us have experienced it before. That definitely helps, but it's all about trying to just soak it all in and not get too excited too early.

"I think we did a pretty good job of that a couple of years ago so hopefully we can do it again and really build up that last couple of days before the grand final.

"It's one of those things you've sort of got to experience it to really be able to describe it and know what to expect. It's good that most of us have done that."

The Cowboys will also need to overcome the toll of four consecutive games in Sydney to lift the Provan-Summons Trophy, but Green insisted they were already battle-hardened road warriors.

"It's actually become routine for us. Routine is good and it's a winning routine at the moment," Green said.

"We need to be smart about how we manage training and recovery and that sort of thing, but we've got a pretty good handle on that.

"We ran eighth so we knew straight away we wouldn't be playing at home if we were to go all the way so the boys have been terrific in that.

"The players have embraced it and just gotten on with the job which is a real tick to their mentality."

News Corp Australia


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