“To be honest, it’s not really talked about much at training,” Hunt said. “I haven’t found it hard to block anything out…as players, you’re looking at your homework and trying to video on the Cowboys.
I hope [it can galvanise us]. If we want to make the finals it has to. But we’ve just got to win next week first and then get on with that.”
Griffin, who made the call to show his assistants the door at season’s end, added: “There’s never a right time. The club went through that process with everyone over the last month or so, but there’s never a right time.”
North Queensland’s triumph gives them a four-point buffer between second and third at the pointy end of the ladder, this their sixth win from seven starts. Significantly as the post-season looms, the Cowboys now boast a 7-2 away record, with Todd Payten especially pleased by his side’s composure.
“I challenged the lads to play our way and they did that tonight,” he said. “I’ve learned a bit about our team over the last 6-10 weeks around the type of language we use. We’ve got a really talented and excitable group. We play our best when we move the ball but we have to be clear around what that looks like.”
But the Dragons -124 for-and-against trails fellow top-eight aspirants the Roosters (22 points, +89), Raiders (22 points, -13) and Manly (20 points, +8), effectively putting them a game further back in the finals race.
Their task gets no easier with arch rivals Cronulla next on the horizon.
The Cowboys weren’t at their best but as has been their wont, they found a way, livewire fullback Drinkwater especially, and repeatedly. I have finished with a double and a hand in another as one of the game’s most entertaining players.
North Queensland’s late flurry of points and a run home that features Cronulla, Canberra and Brisbane simply leaves the Dragons pretty much finished already.
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