After a week of preparation and building excitement, the 2015 National Rugby league Grand Final is nearly upon us. The club fulfilled its final media commitment on the Saturday when head coach Paul Green fronted the press for a final media call. Green made a point of asking the waiting media if he seemed uptight, in reference to a newspaper article published on Friday which was critical of the official NRL media conference on Thursday. The article also said the Cowboys were too uptight to win a premiership, a notion that clearly amused Green who took the critique in good humour.
The press conference critiqued by Sydney Morning Herald scribe Adrian Proszenko was actually part of a very busy day for both the Cowboys and the Broncos, but especially for the NQ boys who arrived in Sydney about 2pm following two flights and a fabulous send-off in Townsville. Upon arrival, Green and five players were whisked away to Darling Harbour for the press conference, featuring both head coaches and three players per team. After addressing the media, it was photo time and a series of posed pics of selected players. Up to this point, players such Cowboys co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott had already changed twice: out of the team polos and shorts they travelled in, into a suit; and then from their suit into full playing kit for the photos. A third change of clothes had the boys back into their suits for the official grand final teams welcomes at NRL Nation and a subsequent cocktail party. After NRL Nation commitments at Darling Harbour, it was off to The Footy Show, then back to the team’s hotel about 8.30pm. Oh, and Thurston, Scott and five-eighth Michael Morgan changed a fourth time for the day: back into casual clothes for the team dinner.
Speaking of Morgs, the classy five-eighth was a little panicked on Thursday when his flash Raybans sunnies went missing for a few hours. With the amount of moving around the players were doing at Darling Harbour that afternoon, players’ bags (with clothes for their myriad costume changes) were moved a couple of times. The rogue specs were located when Morgan’s teammate Kyle Feldt – mistaken for the Cowboys’ media manager – was handed them as the team was leaving the precinct. All’s well that ends well.
While at The Footy Show – who held a grand final spectacular at the Sydney Entertainment Centre – several players rubbed shoulders with Aussie songstress Delta Goodrem backstage. Goodrem was super amped at the prospect of performing on the show and was jumping around excitedly backstage. Maybe she caught a bad dose of finals fever also …
And with no Sydney-based teams in the Big Dance, people in the Harbour City have been getting behind the Cowboys in droves. Two national morning TV programs put calls out this week for Sydney-based Cowboys fans and members to be part of their live audience, while well-wishers on the street have been pledging their support for the boys in blue, white and grey tomorrow afternoon.
The team has stayed in two separate hotels while they’ve been in Sydney. They spent two nights in the Sydney CBD before moving out closer to ANZ Stadium at Homebush for Saturday and Sunday nights. At both team hotels, the teams has been overwhelmed by the well-wishes and treatment received by the staff. The team rooms at both hotels have been kitted out in Cowboys colours, while staff have been nothing short of fabulous.
The Cowboys are facilitating no less than 14 planes to head to Sydney on the Sunday for the big games. Various airlines have answered the rallying call and thousands of NQ-based fans, corporates, Cowboys staff, families and friends will be winging their way south tomorrow, from as early as 5am. The flights have been dubbed various purpose-driven names, including The Lachlan Coote Express, The Johnny Starlight Express, The Rise Up Express, The Michael Morgan Express and The Super Duper Cooper Express. Also, XXXX and Bundaberg Rum is giving passengers of two Nauru Airlines flights a free drink on the way down as is XXXX for a sponsor’s Virgin flight. Should be a great day for all heading down to Sydney and the massive clash at ANZ Stadium.