By Dylan Morris, NRL.com
They've been underdogs for the past three weeks but North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green insists he and his team have not been driven to prove the critics wrong.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Green dispelled the idea that his side was motivated by a desire to cause an upset.
"I've said it all along… what matters most is what we believe, it's about us playing the best game we can and that's what we can control so we've got to make sure we focus on that," Green said.
"Regardless of whatever happened this year I was always proud of the way we competed in games and I don't remember a game where I didn't feel we were in… apart from [the Round 9 game against the Parramatta Eels].
"That's really what you want from your players, you want them to go out and compete as hard as they can, you might not execute everything properly in you as a team that's what makes you proud as a coach."
NRL 360 host Ben Ikin believes the Cowboys' greatest strength lies in the way they have shirked comparisons to their opponents and stuck to what they know.
Without injured duo Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott the team and perhaps every individual player within it has, to some degree, evolved their game and added an extra element of competitive drive to win.
"The strength of what the Cowboys have gone through is that they're not comparing themselves to anyone. They're not even comparing themselves to the team they were at the start of the year, with Scott and Thurston," Ikin said.
"They are just living in the moment. They are very clear at what their best football is, they know that if they play their best football for long enough periods that they can challenge any team in the competition so that's what they've done over the last three weeks."
First published on NRL.com.