North Queensland must focus on own game: Meninga
RECORD-breaking Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga says North Queensland must block out previous officiating injustices that have undermined its past two finals campaigns when it confronts defending premiers the Roosters in Sydney tonight.
Already steaming over a $10,000 fine imposed on coach Paul Green for being critical of the NRL judiciary's consistency this season, the Cowboys headed south earlier this week hoping refereeing blunders will not cost them dearly as they have the previous two years.
The Cowboys were bundled out by Cronulla after they scored a crucial try on a seventh-tackle play in 2012, while officials failed to pick up a knock-on against Manly's Kieran Foran in 2012 when they scored a try that again contributed to their finals exit last year.
Meninga said the Cowboys could go all the way if they used the past disappointments cautiously.
Meninga knows a thing or two about using adversity as motivation, having taken Queensland to eight straight Origin series wins over NSW before losing his first series 2-1 this year.
Asked if the Cowboys could use the feeling that the world was against them, he said: "Yeah, but you can't not focus on your performance.
"Those things are motivating of course, and they've had a rough trot the last couple of years that have cost them the opportunity to play in a grand final
"That won't be in their thinking, really, when they go on the field.
"If they do get a rough call, the best way to combat that is to make sure their next effort is spot on."
Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston has had a big week, carrying off both the Rugby League Players Association player of the year and its Origin player of the year awards, two individual honours that are special because they are voted on by his peers.
Thurston (pictured) is also a strong tip to win his third Dally M player of the year award next week.
The winner of tonight's game will face South Sydney for the right to advance to the NRL grand final on October 5.