Toyota Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston admits there is plenty of feeling, as well as respect, between North Queensland and Wests Tigers who meet in another instalment of their rivalry at Campbelltown on Saturday night.
It’s 10 years since the Cowboys beat the Tigers to make the NRL finals for the first time and the rancor took off a year later when the two clubs met in the grand final, won by the joint venture club to deny North Queensland its first premiership.
Very few games since have passed without one sort of controversial incident or another.
Last year, the Tigers gained a last-minute try to beat the Cowboys at a wet Leichhardt Oval before North Queensland gained their revenge by putting 50 points on the Sydney club in round 26 in Townsville.
“That rivalry has been built up over a number of years,” Thurston said today.
“I might be the only one left from that grand final side but certainly our fans feel it and I know the club does.
“There’s a lot of respect between the two clubs and a great rivalry there as well.”
This will be the Cowboys’ sixth trip to Campbelltown and they’ll be looking to level the head-to-head up at three wins apiece by backing up their Monday Night Football victory against Newcastle.
A victory would also bring the overall history between the two clubs to 15 victories for Wests and 14 for North Queensland.
Thurston described the win against the Knights as “a relief for all of us”.
“On Monday night you saw when we can hold the ball the type of play we can put together,” he said.
“That’s the standard we should be setting each week.”
The champion five-eighth said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing the Tigers’ boom halfback Luke Brooks for the first time.