One team, one dream
Hard-working North Queensland Toyota Cowboys back-rower Ethan Lowe says Sunday’s NRL elimination final against the Cronulla Sharks won’t come down to one man, as the team puts out a call-to-arms for members and supporters.
It’ll be a team effort, Lowe says, that will see the Cowboys through to Week 2 of the post-season, a characteristic that has defined Paul Green’s class of ’17.
“We know what sort of challenge this game is, and we’re up for it,” Lowe said.
“We’ve been working hard for each other all year and we’re all accountable. It’ll be no different on Sunday.”
Lowe will be a key man in the Cowboys forward pack, charged with the task of providing go-forward as well as containing the Sharks’ myriad attacking threats in the engine room.
Led by the dangerous Andrew Fifita and ironman veteran Paul Gallen, the Sharks possess power and skill in the forwards, with Fifita in particular a potential menace through the middle with good late feet and a top-shelf offload.
But Lowe reckons the team are focused, ready for the challenge, knowing that if each player does their job well, the team will be tough to beat.
Meanwhile, utility Ben Hampton says he’d love nothing better than to hear that familiar overflow of support and passion in enemy territory during Sunday’s final.
The game is technically a Sharks home fixture by dint of their finishing fifth on the ladder to the Cowboys’ eighth, but the game will be played at Allianz Stadium and not Cronulla’s spiritual home of Southern Cross Group Stadium.
That situation somewhat nullifies some of the Sharks’ home-ground advantage given their fans are notoriously vocal, opening the door for the Cowboys’ passionate contingent of Southern Stampeders to find their own louder voice amid the roar of “home town” support.
Sydney-based Cowboys members and fans, as well as those travelling to the match are urged to sit together, with Bays 36, 37 and 38 designated “away” team areas.
“We’d love to hear the sort of support and noise that we love so much at 1300SMILES Stadium,” Hampton said.
“Finals creates a heightened atmosphere and we want to feel like we’re at home, so any noise and support would be great.
“We’re all excited about this opportunity.”
Sidelined co-captain Matt Scott put out his own message to the team and fans on social media this week, encouraging his teammates to "learn from the tough lessons" of this season – check it out here!