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Year 3 - 1997

1997 was a significant year for Rugby League as there were two major competitions.

The North Queensland Cowboys were part of the 10-team Super League competition under new coach Tim Sheens.

Seasoned campaigners Steve Walters, Owen Cunningham and Ian Roberts joined the club.

Major redevelopment work of the stadium and training facilities was completed.

Improvements included construction of Northern and Southern grandstands increasing crowd capacity from 23,500 to 31,500.

Changes and improvements to the Club's training facilities were designed and overseen by Coach Sheens.

Once completed, the Cowboys training infrastructure were classed as the best in rugby league.

On the playing field the Cowboys fortunes faded after a promising start to the season.

With five teams finishing within a few points of each other, North Queensland came 10th.

In the World Club competition, an innovation by Super League which was played in Australia and England, the Cowboys won all three matches in Australia, but lost in England, and missed out on the competition finals.

Season statistics

  • Captains: Ian Roberts (10), Steve Walters (8)
  • Coach: Tim Sheens
  • Won 5, lost 11
  • Won 3, lost 1 Super league World Club Challenge
  • Points for 328, points against 452
  • Finished: 10th
  • Player of the Year: Owen Cunningham

Representative players/coaches

  • Owen Cunningham: Qld Tri Series
  • Steve Walters: Qld Tri Series, Australian Super League Squad
  • Ian Roberts: NSW Tri Series
  • John Lomax, Tyran Smith: NZ Tri-Series
  • Tim Sheens, Coach NSW Tri Series

*The World Club challenge was played out by the Brisbane Broncos and Hunter Mariners who were coached by Graham Murray