The North Queensland Cowboys are delighted to be rated no-hopers against Melbourne Storm for next weekend’s National Rugby League (NRL) grand final, coach Paul Green said yesterday.
The Cowboys pulled off yet another surprise when they stunned the Sydney Roosters 29-16 on Saturday to reach their third grand final in Sydney.
It capped an exhilarating run for North Queensland through the post-season finals series from eighth position with upset wins over defending champions Cronulla Sharks, Parramatta Eels and the Sydney Roosters to reach the season decider on Sunday.
The Cowboys will be facing Craig Bellamy’s formidable Storm, who are strong favorites to claim their third NRL title at their eighth grand final appearance.
“No one has given us a chance and they won’t give us a chance next week,” Green said. “Melbourne deserve to be favorites, they’ve been the best team all year and they have strike players across the park, we have nothing to lose.”
Asked if he believed his side can topple the Storm, Green said: “I think we can. What matters most is what we believe and that is what’s there.”
It has been a fairytale late season charge for the Cowboys, who just squeezed into the top-eight playoffs after losing five of their last six games in the regular season.
They have also reached the grand final without their mercurial Test star Johnathan Thurston and international front-rower Matt Scott, both who have been sidelined through injury.
However, in Thurston’s absence Michael Morgan has stepped up to become an influential team leader at scrumhalf and he had a hand in three of the Cowboys four tries in the win over the Roosters.
“I’ve got nothing more to say to him now, he’s going that good,” Thurston said of Morgan’s man-of-the-match heroics. “That’s one lad I’m extremely proud of. I’ve seen him grow over the last four months and he’s really come of age while I’ve been sitting on the sidelines.”
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