Cowboys' big men ready for Storm test
With the signing of Jordan McLean and the return of Matt Scott, the three biggest bodies in the North Queensland Cowboys' squad include two Australian players, a Queensland State of Origin front-rower, plus Dally M Medal-winning Tongan superstar Jason Taumalolo.
That's five titles shared among three men, and it's why second-rower Gavin Cooper has labelled them "the wolf pack."
Come Friday night when the Cowboys meet the Melbourne Storm in the testimonial match for Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith at Suncorp Stadium, expect the talented trio to be heavily involved.
"[McLean] doesn't say too much about how he's feeling, he just goes about his business," Cooper said.
"He'd be excited just to get the first game out of the way in Cowboys' colours, he looks really sharp at training.
"Since [James Tamou] left a couple of years ago we haven't really replaced that big body in the middle of the field and we've done that now with Macca.
"Hopefully him and Thumper (Scott) and Jase (Jason Taumalolo), they form a little trio, a little wolf pack, hopefully they start rolling off the back of each other and it'll be exciting to watch."
While Friday's game isn't being played for points, Cooper acknowledged there's more on the line than in any regular pre-season fixture.
As a milestone game for Thurston and Smith as well as a grand final rematch with one player (McLean) having switched teams, the veteran second-rower expects the game to be as close to a round-one performance as possible.
"It's a milestone game, we'll probably treat it like that,'' he said. "We definitely need to improve a lot of areas from the weekend and that will be the main focus.
"[But] if it comes down to four points behind with 10 minutes to go, I don't think you'll see JT (Thurston) go off. "It's something pretty cool, especially for him, given that it's about him and 'Smithy'.
"It will be best foot forward from everyone I think."